The Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, Canada is typically best known for its wineries, fruit orchards, and beautiful Okanagan Lake. But this week it’s making headlines based on a misguided misinterpretation of how the Covid-19 vaccines work. Steve Miller, owner of Sun City Silver and Gold Exchange, in the Okanagan city of Kelowna, spoke to Global News earlier this week: “We would rather not be exposed to people who have been vaccinated and who could shed the virus…Shedding is real, it’s a problem now and it is going to be a bigger problem as more and more people line up for these experimental vaccines.” There is also a sign banning mask-wearing inside the store. According to the city’s risk manager, the store is operating without a business license, and is promoting orders against those stated by local and regional public health officials.
Where does this notion of viral shedding after vaccination stem from, and is there any validity to this? As detailed in Victoria Forster’s recent Forbes piece, not only can’t you contract Covid-19 infection from the Covid-19 vaccine, you also cannot spread or shed virus from receiving the vaccine. This goes for any of the currently available Covid-19 vaccines, including those made by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and AstraZeneca.
Historically, and in some instances currently, some vaccines were made with either a reduced amount of live virus, such as smallpox, chickenpox, or measles, mumps rubella (MMR) or a small amount of inactivated/killed virus, such as hepatitis A, flu, or polio. Other vaccines, such as hepatitis B, human papillomavirus (HPV), and shingles (herpes zoster) use a tiny piece of a protein or sugar fragment from the pathogen. Still others are what’s know as toxoids, and are much shorter acting, as they provide only a miniscule amount of a toxin from the germ. Toxoid vaccines include diphtheria and tetanus, which last only five to ten years and require regular booster shots.