At 1st Comelec presidential debate, Montemayor falsely claims COVID vaccines ’cause infections’

March 19, 2022 - 10:59 PM
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Jose Montemayor_Comelec debates
A screenshot of 2022 presidential aspirant Jose Montemayor Jr. in the Comelec presidential debates as shared on its Facebook page. (Facebook/comelec.ph)

The local online community corrected physician Jose Montemayor who falsely claimed that COVID-19 vaccines will further “expose” an individual to infection instead of eradicating or reducing its severity.

During the first debate organized by the Commission on Elections, the 2022 presidential bet, who is a cardiologist and lawyer, claimed that COVID-19 vaccination cards supposedly lower workers’ morals and that vaccination exposes them to viral infection.

“Palaging hina-harass niyo ang 70 million na Filipinos, palagi niyong hinahanapan niyan,” he was quoted as saying, referring to the vaccination cards.

“When in fact, ang mismong vaccination will expose you to infection,” Montemayor added.

His comments did not amuse viewers who tagged Montemayor as an “anti-vaxxer,” spreading false information. Reactions to his remarks prompted his name to enter Twitter Philippines’ trending list on Saturday evening.

“Give Montemayor’s airtime to more credible candidates, please. Get him out of there. @COMELEC ‘wag niyo na i-invite ‘yung anti-vaxxer spreading fake news,” screenwriter Anj Pessumal tweeted.

The COVID-19 vaccination card is a government-issued certificate that verifies the individual has been vaccinated against the viral disease.

It is also a way for the government to keep track of how much of the population had received coronavirus jabs. For others, it is a requirement for their overseas work, among others.

COVID-19 vaccination is not mandatory but Filipinos are highly encouraged to get the shot so that the country could reach herd immunity against the virus.

The vaccines also do not cause infection.

“The vaccine for COVID-19 cannot and will not give you COVID-19,” an article from the John Hopkins Medicine website said.

“The two authorized mRNA vaccines instruct your cells to reproduce a protein that is part of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which helps your body recognize and fight the virus, if it comes along,” it added, referring to Pfizer and Moderna’s coronavirus vaccines.

“The COVID-19 vaccine does not contain the SARS-Co-2 virus, so you cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine. The protein that helps your immune system recognize and fight the virus does not cause infection of any sort,” the article added.

According to physician Katherine O’Brien of the World Health Organization, “all the components that go into vaccines are heavily tested” to ensure that it is safe for humans.

“The vaccines do contain a number of different elements and each of them is tested. Before they’re ever given to a human, they’re tested in animals and they’re tested for any kind of problem in the animal,” she said.

“And only then do they go into humans where we test in clinical trials with tens of thousands of people receiving the vaccines eventually before they’re authorized for use in the general public. And safety is the most important part of those clinical trials. Every single vaccine goes through a safety evaluation to be sure that it’s safe before it’s used in the general public,” O’Brien added.

The Department of Health also said that getting vaccinated reduces the risks of getting severe symptoms of COVID-19.

“Vaccines mimic the virus or bacteria that causes disease and triggers the body’s creation of antibodies. These antibodies will provide protection once a person is infected with the actual disease-causing virus or bacteria,” it said on its website.

“Vaccines differ in their composition and how they trigger the immune response to create antibodies. These antibodies protect the body from microorganisms and serve as protection once a person gets infected with disease,” DOH further said.