Borax baths as a Covid-19 vaccine detox are a dangerous side effect of misinformation

In the latest installment of misinformation surrounding the Covid-19 vaccine, we find yet another lie where the proffered “cure” is far worse than the original intervention. At first it sounds like a recipe for a soothing spa treatment for tired muscles: a cup each of sea salt, Epsom salts and baking soda in a warm bath. But then comes a cup of borax, a caustic agent that has been linked to infertility and can damage the skin and other organs.

The borax bath recipe has gone viral among the minority of Americans who have gotten vaccinated but, for whatever reason, have come to regret it.

This, according to NBC News, is what’s being touted online as a recipe for undoing a Covid-19 vaccine. The borax bath recipe has gone viral among the minority of Americans who have gotten vaccinated but, for whatever reason, have come to regret it.

The popularity of this “detox” surged after the recently issued guidance from the Biden administration for large employers mandating Covid-19 vaccinations. In addition to the damage this and other “vaccine detox” protocols will do to individuals who follow it, the idea of detoxing is drawing attention away from two simple facts: First, mandates and workplace requirements are working; second, and more importantly, they are saving lives.

Tyson Foods Inc., one of the country’s largest meatpacking companies, recorded 29,462 Covid-19 cases and 151 deaths over the first year of the pandemic. The Amarillo, Texas, plant had a 49.8 percent rate of infection and was issued citations for lax standards, according to a pursuant investigation. The public health hazard has been cited as one factor that crippled the workforce and the supply of poultry across the country, prompting leaders of the company to voluntarily implement a workforce requirement for vaccination. That requirement led to 96 percent of its employees getting vaccinated ahead of the mandate. Research suggests vaccinations may have averted up to 140,000 deaths in the United States.

An organized network of lies has targeted this highly effective vaccine, vaccine promotion efforts and even voluntary interventions such as Tyson’s. But the majority of Americans who support workplace vaccine requirements cite their desire to feel confident as they participate in basic activities at work and home, including travel. Many Americans even support vaccine requirements for domestic travel and for schools, illustrating that higher vaccination rates correlate with confidence in returning to pre-pandemic activities.

The mandates in place aren’t without exemptions or accommodations. According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidance, employees who choose not to be vaccinated should undergo regular testing. Being tested for Covid-19 has become a familiar experience to millions of Americans at this point, so it is even more puzzling that legal challenges continue to mount.

The history of detoxing the body — both against diseases and vaccines — precedes Covid-19. For example, Dr. Max Gerson was a physician in the 1930s who claimed he could reverse cancer with juicing and coffee enemas. His disproven beliefs are still popular in some cancer support groups and have to actively be refuted by cancer institutions such as Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Meanwhile, several authors have achieved fame by offering tinctures and recipes to detox from vaccines of all types. This popularity comes without their having conducted research or studies and without them providing acknowledgment of the harms of their proposed detox treatments such as increased vulnerability to infection.

The combination of vitriol, lies and misinformation about vaccines might result in more people focusing on “reversing vaccines” rather than acknowledging the importance and the effectiveness of the vaccines they’ve received. There’s a game of misinformation whack-a-mole being played. Just as one video is taken down from the internet, others replace it. Science and public health will prevail, but only with an organized effort to demonstrate that every shot saves lives.

Detoxing is not real. You can’t undo a vaccine, especially the Covid-19 vaccine, because it doesn’t change your DNA; it just tells your body to depend on its own natural immune response to protect you from dying. We’ve got a proven and effective vaccine against a virus that’s killed more than 760,000 Americans. It’s unfortunate, though, that we don’t have a vaccine against misinformation and its damaging, even deadly, effects.

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