This week the VERIFY team focused on tackling questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, looking into potential costs of last week’s winter storms in Texas and to confusion around a popular toy brand.
Are fully vaccinated people still getting COVID-19?
There are rare cases in which fully vaccinated people are still getting COVID-19. In fact, that’s expected because no vaccine is perfect.
Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are about 95% effective, which means that there will be some people who might end up getting sick even after they receive the vaccination.
Based on the Oregon Health Authority’s statistics, less than 0.01% of fully vaccinated Oregonians have later been sick with COVID-19.
Do COVID-19 vaccines meet the medical definition of vaccines?
There is no official medical definition for vaccines. But the COVID-19 vaccines do meet the criteria based on definitions by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services.
The CDC says vaccines are “a product that stimulates a person’s immune system to produce immunity to a specific disease, protecting the person from that disease.” That’s what the COVID-19 vaccines do.
Some people have also claimed that the COVID-19 vaccines can alter your DNA, but that’s not how they work. Just because the vaccines use an mRNA technology doesn’t mean they have any impact on your DNA.
Dr. Daniel Salmon, a professor at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, explained that just because you eat an apple, essentially consuming its DNA, your DNA doesn’t become an apple’s DNA and you don’t become an apple. Likewise, just because mRNA enters your body doesn’t mean your DNA gets changed to match that.
Are some people in Texas facing massive power bills from last week? Will you see an insurance deductible hike because of named winter storms?
Customers who use a wholesale power buying service for their electricity in Texas are looking at massive bills caused by a spike in the wholesale cost of power set by the Public Utility Commission of Texas.
Most Texans, however, have electricity plans that sell power at a fixed rate. So this experience isn’t universal.
Currently, the governor of Texas is looking to address the high costs some Texans faced, but a plan hasn’t been announced yet.
Luckily, Texans shouldn’t have to worry about a hike in their insurance deductible associated with named storms. The National Weather Service is in charge of naming storms and does not do so for winter storms. Media outlets like The Weather Channel choose to refer to these storms by name, but their names for the storms aren’t official.
So, most insurance policies with a named storm deductible shouldn’t apply those deductibles to this.
Is Hasbro turning Mr. Potato Head into just ‘Potato Head’?
No. Hasbro is renaming the full lineup of potato head toys to Potato Head but leaving the individual names the same.
The company's press release states, “Hasbro is officially renaming the MR. POTATO HEAD brand to POTATO HEAD to better reflect the full line. But rest assured, the iconic MR. and MRS. POTATO HEAD characters aren’t going anywhere and will remain MR. and MRS. POTATO HEAD.”
Hasbro plans to launch a "Create your own Potato Head family" toy pack later this year. Given that only one character in this three-person potato family is actually Mr. Potato Head, Hasbro is rebranding the product line to just the family name.
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