Benton Harbor doctor raises skepticism about Covid vaccine

BENTON HARBOR, Mich.--- A Benton Harbor doctor is raising skepticism about the Covid-19 vaccines in a widely viewed Facebook video. Dr. Don Tynes of the Benton Harbor Health Center posted a video recently questioning the speed of the vaccines and the technology used to manufacture them.

"This is not a regular vaccine with technology we’ve used in the past using RNA and DNA so we’re altering the body’s  function in order to produce antibodies," said Tynes. 

St. Joseph County Deputy Health Officer, Dr. Mark Fox, says some of Tynes' video needed correction, pointing to the fact that RNA technology has been used in cancer treatments for decads.

"It certainly creates the analogy that this technology somehow alters your genetic code, which it doesn’t," said Fox.

Fox and Tynes also disagree on the speed of the vaccines being approved being a reason to be hesitant about getting them.

"The vaccine is only a year old so nobody knows what it’s going to do to autoimmune diseases like lupus or MS," said Tynes.

"I think it’s also important to know that they didn’t cut corners on going through the phases of clinical trials that are required for review and approval," said Fox.

The Berrien County Department of Health also weighed in on the discussion releasing a statement that reads:

“The Berrien County Health Department understands that there are some members of our community who may still have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine - from the way that the vaccine equips the immune system to fight the virus, to the potential side effects that one could experience after getting the shot. As our department has throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we remain committed to providing factual, credible, and timely public information. It is important that people are able to review the science and data to make informed decisions about what will be best for themselves and their loved ones. We know that not everyone will choose to receive the COVID-19 vaccine right away or even at all and we feel that it is completely appropriate for people to take some additional time to make that choice. In public health, our top priority is to decrease the morbidity and mortality due to diseases like COVID-19, using tested and verified methods to prevent illness, such as vaccination. Having reviewed the research ourselves, we firmly believe that the COVID-19 vaccine is effective, safe, and one of the best tools currently at our disposal to save lives, help build towards lasting herd immunity, and bring us closer to the end of this pandemic.”

Both Tynes and Fox agree that a reasonable cause for skepticism for the vaccines is the dark racial history of medical abuse towards people of color. 

"The number one public health crisis in America is racism and Covid has exposed that," said Tynes.

"There is this really prolonged, tragic history where Black and other marginalized communities have been taken advantage of," said Fox.

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