Protecting individuals — especially those most vulnerable — obviously is important, but the larger goal of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign is to achieve herd immunity.

This occurs when enough people are immune to slow the spread of an infectious disease, usually accomplished by vaccination. Measles, polio and other contagious diseases were subdued when herd immunity was achieved through largescale vaccination.

If too few people are vaccinated, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 will keep finding enough new hosts to propagate and further delay a return to normalcy.

Some advocate another path to herd immunity, which is loosening COVID-19 restrictions enough for most people to develop immunity by becoming infected with the virus. Infectious disease experts say this would cause a huge increase in sickness and deaths. It would wreck healthcare systems and the economy. There is evidence of people who are ill from COVID-19 developing serious ongoing health problems.

Proponents of herd immunity through immunization face the formidable foe that has challenged other science-based efforts for the common good — misinformation.

Research found that misinformation spread by the anti-vaccination movement on social media is largely responsible for the surprisingly large percentage of Americans who indicated hesitancy to being vaccinated for COVID-19 when surveyed.

The Mayo Clinic addressed COVID-19 vaccine myths in an article found at www.mayo clinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/fea tured-topic/covid-19-vac cine-myths-debunked.

One myth debunked by the Mayo Clinic is that the COVID-19 vaccine was developed to control the general population through microchip tracking or “nanotransducers” in our brains.

The Mayo Clinic said there is no vaccine microchip, and no COVID-19 vaccine will track people or gather personal information. This myth apparently started after Bill Gates spoke about a digital certificate of vaccine records. The technology he referenced isn’t a microchip and isn’t tied to COVID-19 vaccines.

People worried about being traced or tracked should focus concern on technology used in smartphones, social media sites and web browsers.

Among others, the Mayo Clinic exposed false claims saying COVID-19 vaccines alter human DNA, that they were developed using fetal tissue and that they cause infertility or miscarriage.

Some people reported muscle soreness where they received a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine shot for COVID-19. Some even felt feverish. The same can happen with a flu vaccine. These symptoms indicate that the vaccine is activating the body’s defenses to fight the virus.

The bottom line is that widespread immunization is the best and only acceptable strategy against the COVID-19 pandemic.

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