MANSFIELD – Since the beginning of the pandemic, new information continues to roll out each week about coronavirus, its variants and the vaccines to help defend against it. However, the sharing of misinformation across social media platforms can often spread faster than the truth.
Melody Parton, a nurse at OhioHealth Mansfield Hospital, grew disheartened when she saw the copious amount of ‘news’ spreading down her Facebook timeline. At times, that misinformation could be seen by more people than the information provided by healthcare professionals.
“I see a lot of ridiculous things (on social media) that are passed on with the tagline, ‘I don’t know if this is true but I’m putting it out there,’” Parton said. “Seeing these things are scary, and if you don’t have a degree in science, and if you don’t understand how these vaccines work in the body, you’re probably going to fall more toward, ‘I’m just gonna see what happens.’ And that’s not working.”
So when Parton became eligible to receive the third dose of the Moderna vaccine, she decided to document her experience on Sept. 2.
Parton, who has Lupus, is one of the first people able to receive the third dose due to having an autoimmune disease. Joseph Gastaldo, MD, medical director of infectious diseases at OhioHealth, encourages anyone who has a weakened immune system to get the third dose.
“Some people with autoimmune diseases are on medication that weakens the immune system that puts them at more risk for more infection and having bad outcomes,” Gastaldo said.
Parton received all three shots of the Moderna vaccine. The FDA and the CDC’s vaccine committee will issue recommendations based on specific studies given to them, so it’s unlikely they will recommend mixing Pfizer and Moderna because the pharmaceutical companies are not studying the vaccines in that manner, Gastaldo said.
“The only recommendation we have now for a third dose is for people who are severely or moderately immunocompromised,” Gastaldo said. “Those specific studies were already submitted to the FDA and the CDC and were reviewed, and in those studies, it was for an additional dose from the same manufacturer.”
The vaccine will help defend against both the original virus and the new delta variant. According to Gastaldo, a third dose would top off antibody levels.
“When you get vaccinated, two parts of your immune system are stimulated,” Gastaldo said. “The first part is your antibody levels. After you get vaccinated, your antibody levels go very, very high. Naturally, over time, those antibody levels come down lower. Having higher antibody levels protects you from getting an infection.”
“The antibodies do two things – they bind the virus and prevent the virus from causing further infection,” Gastaldo said.
Parton went into getting her third dose already expecting to feel some after-effects. A day later, she said she experienced a sore arm and low-grade fever, but it went away 24 hours from when it began.
After receiving her third dose and sharing her experience with however many people she can reach, Parton will continue to help educate others and steer them toward the right information rather than falsely reported information on social media.
“[Social media] is where a lot of people – our family, our friends, our loved ones and our kids – are getting their information,” Parton said. “Please be aware of the source that it’s coming from, research it yourself before you pass it on.”
For more information about the coronavirus and updated information, visit https://www.ohiohealth.com/covid-19.