As vaccine rollout continues across the country and the world, we are approaching the possibilityof a return to normalcy. Yetmany people are still hesitant to receive the vaccine, voicing concerns over their rapid development or because of myths about the vaccines circulating on social media. In order to alleviate confusion and feararound the vaccines, the medical experts of AnMed Health have addressed some of the common myths and their correlative truths, supported by scientifically proven facts, behind the COVID-19 vaccines.
Common COVID-19 vaccine myths
MYTH: The vaccines were developed too quickly, and we can’t trust their effectiveness or safety
TRUTH: While the emergency situation posed by the pandemic encouraged pharmaceutical companies and scientists to work collaboratively and quickly, they did not compromise any safety or testing protocols to achieve their success. Studies have shown that the Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are all effective, safe, and result in no serious side effects. These vaccines were developed using a method that scientists have been perfecting for years. Using genetic information shared by China early on in the pandemic, scientists and pharmaceutical companies were able to begin developing vaccines with this technique in early 2020. With financial support and resourcesfrom governments and willing volunteers, these companies were able to efficiently and safely develop the vaccines.
MYTH: The vaccine can affect fertility
TRUTH: The COVID-19 vaccine will not impact fertility. The vaccine teaches the body to fight the virus by creating copies of the same spike protein found on the surface of the coronavirus. The confusion around fertility arose when some claimed this spike protein was the same as another spike protein that helps develop the placenta during pregnancy. The myth posed that the body would fight this spike protein, impacting fertility. This is false because the two spike proteins are entirely different. However, contracting COVID-19 can affect pregnancy and the mother’s health, which is further evidence in favor of the vaccines.
MYTH: I have already had COVID and therefore don’t need the vaccine
TRUTH: Even those who have already had the coronavirus would likely benefit from getting the vaccine. There is not yet enough information to determine how long those who have had COVID-19 are naturally immune to the virus, but early studies indicate that immunity does not last long. Some scientists also argue the vaccine will better protect its recipients than natural immunity.
MYTH: If I get the vaccine, I no longer have to wear a mask or practice social distancing
TRUTH: Vaccines only prevent recipients from experiencing moderate to severe symptoms, and the virus may still enter your body. Because of this, it is possible that those who receive the vaccine may still be able to carry and transmit the virus to others, even without any symptoms. Scientists are still studying the transmission of the virus with those who have been vaccinated, but for the time being, you should continue following COVID precautions even after vaccination. This includes wearing a mask and maintaining six feet of distance from others in public.
MYTH: If I get the vaccine, I will get COVID
TRUTH: The COVID-19 vaccines will not give you coronavirus. The Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines do not contain the SARS-Co-2 virus but use mRNA to teach your cells how to protect against COVID. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a traditional vector vaccine in which a small piece of genetic material from the COVID-19 virus is delivered to your cells, again teaching them how to protect against the virus. With all of the vaccines, the live virus is never used, and they cannot transmit the virus to the vaccine recipient.
MYTH: The vaccine has severe and serious side effects
TRUTH: While a small percentage of those receiving the vaccine may briefly experience mild symptoms, in most cases the vaccines do not result in serious side effects. It is normal for your immune system to respond to any vaccine, including COVID-19 vaccines. According to the CDC, you may experience pain, redness, or swelling around the injection site, as well as tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, or a slight fever for a few days after the vaccine. In rare instances, a person may experience an allergic reaction to the ingredients within the vaccine, developing hives, swelling or respiratory symptoms. If you experience any serious side effects, consult your doctor immediately.
MYTH: The vaccine contains microchips, tracking devices, or “nanotransducers”
TRUTH: The vaccine does not contain any microchip or tracking devices, and it will not track or share your personal information. The vaccines contain only normal, FDA–approved ingredients like fats, salts, and sugar. This myth was born when Bill Gates mentioned a digital certificate of vaccine records, but this technology is not a microchip and has not been incorporated into any vaccine.
MYTH: The vaccine will alter my DNA
TRUTH: While all of the vaccines teach your cells to make a protein that reacts to and fights against COVID, they do not interact with your DNA in any way. In the case of the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna),your body will dispose of the mRNA quickly after implementing its instructions. Similarly, your body will break down and get rid of the gene delivered by a vector vaccine like Johnson & Johnson’s.
MYTH: I shouldn’t get the vaccine if I have an egg allergy
TRUTH: None of the COVID-19 vaccines contain eggs, nor were eggs used in the production of these vaccines. But if you have serious allergies to eggs or any other substance, you should speak with your doctor before receiving the vaccine and may be asked to remain at the vaccine clinic for 30 minutes after your dose to ensure you don’t experience any negative reactions.
Understanding COVID-19 and its vaccines
Understanding the facts about COVID-19 and its vaccines is an important aspect of defeating the pandemic. For more information about COVID-19 information and updates from AnMed Health, please visit https://anmedhealth.org/covid-19-vaccine.