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‘Conceptually incoherent:’ Expert debunks Alberta business’ vaccine ‘shedding’ claim

EDMONTON – A central Alberta business says it is banning anyone who has had the COVID-19 vaccine in the last four weeks from entering its store, because of the risk, it claims, of so-called “shedding.”

Scientific experts say the latest in vaccine misinformation is that you shed modified cells–kind of like a cat sheds fur–after getting the vaccine, which could be harmful to others and even cause miscarriages.

“It’s conceptually incoherent,” said Tim Caulfield, Canada Research Chair in public health law and policy.

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“It’s not supported in science and I think it sends a very dangerous message.”

Caulfield says there’s no evidence to support these claims.

He says these types of conspiracy theories are being used to drive vaccine hesitancy by planting the seed of doubt.

The business that posted this sign claims it is to protect a pregnant employee and the move was done at the advice of “medical professionals and their insurance provider.”

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The store did not answer CityNews’ request for comment or say which insurance provider gave those instructions.

However, the store wrote on Facebook it’s waiting for more scientific evidence.

“You’ll find people who say well there’s no scientific evidence, that means maybe if they did study it maybe they would find it. It’s not even scientifically plausible.”

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WATCH: Full interview with Caulfield

Caulfield says it would be an expensive waste of time to study something that has no scientific backing.

It’s this type of misinformation Caulfield is hoping to counter with Science Up First, where credible experts take to social media–where misinformation breeds–to break down what’s backed by scientific proof and what’s not and how to verify your sources.

“You don’t have to be a hardcore denier to be influenced by this. To start to question things, to doubt things, and that little bit of doubt can have a real big impact on intention to vaccinate. And that’s why countering this misinformation when it happens is so important,” he said.