DETROIT (July 29, 2021) – With more than 30% of Michigan residents unvaccinated, top doctors at Henry Ford Health System on Thursday sought to debunk the misinformation and disinformation about the COVID-19 vaccines being pushed on social media, the internet and other unreliable sources.
At a briefing with reporters, Adnan Munkarah, M.D., Executive Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer, and Dennis Cunningham, M.D., System Medical Director of Infection Control and Prevention, warned that people relying on baseless information have tragically gotten severely ill or lost their life.
They urged unvaccinated people to trust a credible source like their doctor, their faith leader or someone in their family who is already vaccinated.
“Given the large number of people who remain hesitant or have avoided vaccination, disseminating important fact-based information is worth repeating,” Dr. Cunningham said.
Dr. Cunningham debunked five common myths about the vaccines including with the persistent view that the vaccines were rushed to use. He said the mRNA technology used to develop the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna vaccines has long existed and been used for the past 10 years for treating certain cancers. He added that the emergency use authorization typically turns into a routine approval after six months.
“The clinical trials and data from those trials were not rushed,” Dr. Cunningham said. “They were presented to anyone who wanted to view them online. Myself and my colleagues actually listened to all that and the data as well. I had no reservations about getting the COVID vaccine under emergency use authorization and all my family members did as well receive it.”
The mRNA technology does not alter anyone’s DNA, another popular myth. Dr. Cunningham said. “It’s impossible. The mRNA doesn’t even enter the nucleus of the cell, which is where DNA is located. There’s absolutely no risk.”
Dr. Cunningham emphasized there is “absolutely no scientific evidence” that the vaccines impact fertility in women or men. “People have been able to get pregnant after being vaccinated and women who have been vaccinated while pregnant have delivered healthy, happy babies.”
Dr. Cunningham said people who recovered from COVID and are relying on the natural infection for protection is not enough. “The vaccines actually provide better protection against these new variants especially Delta,” he said, adding that natural infection does not protect someone against the variants.
For those who are still on the fence or delaying vaccination, Dr. Cunningham said vaccination would make a “big” difference in ending the pandemic. “Anytime the virus infects someone, the virus can mutate. These mutations like the devastating Delta variant will allow the virus to continue to exist and wreak havoc in our communities.”
Currently, 23 patients with COVID-19 are hospitalized across Henry Ford’s five acute-care hospitals. During the week of July 18, the health system saw a small increase in vaccinations. The vaccination rate among the workforce is now 72%.
Dr. Munkarah said that Henry Ford is now coming to people’s homes to provide vaccination through their Global Health Initiative. This option is available to those who only have difficulty getting to a vaccination site and applies to anyone in the household ages 12 and older. To schedule an appointment, people can call 313-876-1363 or email [email protected].
“What we have learned over the last year and a half is that this virus is vicious,” Dr. Munkarah said. “We’ve gone through three surges now in Michigan. We have seen what’s happened around the globe and in Michigan and the Delta variant has spread like wildfire. It’s impacting people young and old and it’s taking away lives. The best way for us to get over this is for people to get vaccinated. The data is very clear now – that vaccinated people have much less risk of having severe illness, of needing to be in the hospital or dying of the disease.”
People who test positive for COVID-19 (including those who are vaccinated) may be eligible to receive monoclonal antibody therapy, a free and one-visit treatment that can reduce the risk of hospitalization and death. The treatment is effective against multiple variants including Delta. People can call 313-874-7575 to confirm they are eligible and get scheduled for treatment.
“As the science has demonstrated, vaccination is the most effective way to protect all of us from COVID,” Dr. Munkarah said. “I know people have doubted COVID and I hope now that people have seen that COVID hasn’t spared anyone. Hasn’t spared anyone based on political affiliation, based on age, based on ethnicity, based on religion. It has affected everyone. It has affected the old and the young. It has affected the healthy as well as the sick.
“COVID will find any of us eventually, especially if we’re not vaccinated. By getting vaccinated, we not only protect ourselves, but we protect our loved ones and those who we care for in the community.”
NEWS MEDIA ONLY may contact: David Olejarz / [email protected] / 313-303-0606
About Henry Ford Health System
Founded in 1915 by Henry Ford himself, Henry Ford Health System is a non-profit, integrated health system committed to improving people’s lives through excellence in the science and art of healthcare and healing. Henry Ford Health System includes Henry Ford Medical Group, with more than 1,900 physicians and researchers practicing in more than 50 specialties at locations throughout Southeast and Central Michigan. Acute care hospitals include Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, MI and Henry Ford Allegiance Health in Jackson, MI – both Magnet® hospitals; Henry Ford Macomb Hospital; Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital; and Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital.
The largest of these is Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, a quaternary care research and teaching hospital and Level 1 Trauma Center recognized for clinical excellence in cardiology, cardiovascular surgery, neurology, neurosurgery, and multi-organ transplants. The health system also provides comprehensive, best-in-class care for cancer at the Brigitte Harris Cancer Pavilion, and orthopedics and sports medicine at the William Clay Ford Center for Athletic Medicine – both in Detroit. As one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers, Henry Ford Health System annually trains more than 3,000 medical students, residents, and fellows in more than 50 accredited programs, and has trained nearly 40% of the state’s physicians. Our dedication to education and research is supported by nearly $100 million in annual grants from the National Institutes of Health and other public and private foundations.
Our not-for-profit health plan, Health Alliance Plan (HAP) provides health coverage for more than 540,000 people.
Henry Ford Health System employs more than 33,000 people, including more than 1,600 physicians, more than 6,600 nurses and 5,000 allied health professionals.