By Dr. Max Gomez

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As millions of Americans clamor for a COVID-19 vaccine, there are many who are still hesitant.

Some of that comes from side effect rumors circulating on social media, like infertility from the vaccine.

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CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez has more on that rumor and another one — about whether nail polish, yes, nail polish, can affect a device used to track COVID at home.

Our first question is from Kathy, who has heard that “Nail polish interferes with accurate readings on a pulse oximeter. True?”

It is true, Kathy, at least for some nail polish. First, remember that a pulse oximeter is a fingertip device that measures your heart rate and how well oxygenated your blood is, which is very important in COVID cases, especially if you’re being monitored at home.

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It does that by emitting tiny pulses of light that pass through your finger to a detector on the other side of your finger. Changes in light absorption differentiate between oxygenated and deoxygenated blood.

It turns out some, but not all, nail polishes absorb the little light flashes from the oximeter, yielding erroneous results. Black, blue and green colors blocked the most light, but to be safe, take your reading with unpainted nails.

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A vaccine question comes from Debbie, who asks, “Could the COVID vaccine cause infertility in women of child-bearing age?”

Debbie, there’s no evidence that the present vaccines cause infertility. In the Pfizer trial of 37,000 people, women who had a positive pregnancy test were excluded. During the trial, though, 23 women conceived — 12 in vaccine group and 11 in the placebo group. No difference.


And vaccine expert Dr. Paul Offit from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said with 24 million Americans testing positive for COVID infection, and if you include untested people, it’s probably over 70 million or 1 out of 5 in the U.S. You would expect that natural COVID infection would have impacted fertility rates by now and there’s no indication that has happened.

Do you have a COVID vaccine question for Dr. Max? Let us know!

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Dr. Max Gomez