Coronavirus Vaccines Myth Versus Fact, Everything you need to know.
Vaccines are perhaps the best hope for ending the COVID-19 pandemic. Two pharmaceutical companies have applied for Food and Drug Administration (FDA) emergency use authorization for new COVID-19 vaccines, and a limited number of vaccines will be available before the end of the year.
It's likely you've heard claims about these COVID-19 vaccines on social media or from the people in your life. Also, the rapid development and approval of these vaccines may make you hesitant about safety or effectiveness.
Pfizer/BioNTech/Covishield/Covaxin and Moderna are the vaccines available as of May 2021
Even if you understand the scientific process, trust medical experts and know how important vaccines are for fighting infectious diseases, you might still have some questions or concerns about the new COVID-19 vaccines – especially with so many rumors floating around online.
MYTH: We can’t trust COVID-19 vaccines because they were rushed.
FACT: The first vaccines for COVID-19 do involve new technology, and they were developed in record time. But it’s not because there were shortcuts in the process.
Studies found that the two initial vaccines are both about 95% effective — and reported no serious or life-threatening side effects. There are many reasons why the COVID-19 vaccines could be developed so quickly. Here are just a few:
The COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech/Covishield/Covaxin and Moderna were created with a method that has been in development for years, so the companies could start the vaccine development process early in the pandemic.
China isolated and shared genetic information about COVID-19 promptly, so scientists could start working on vaccines.
The vaccine developers didn’t skip any testing steps, but conducted some of the steps on an overlapping schedule to gather data faster.
Vaccine projects had plenty of resources, as governments invested in research and/or paid for vaccines in advance.
Some types of COVID-19 vaccines were created using messenger RNA (mRNA), which allows a faster approach than the traditional way that vaccines are made.
Social media helped companies find and engage study volunteers, and many were willing to help with COVID-19 vaccine research.
Because COVID-19 is so contagious and widespread, it did not take long to see if the vaccine worked for the study volunteers who were vaccinated.
Companies began making vaccines early in the process — even before FDA authorization — so some supplies were ready when authorization occurred.
The safety of COVID-19 vaccine will continue to be closely monitored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the FDA.
MYTH: I already had COVID-19 and I have recovered, so I don't need to get a COVID-19 vaccine when it's available.
FACT: Right now, it seems that getting COVID-19 more than once is not common, but there are still many questions that remain unanswered. Experts say that, even if you’ve had COVID-19, it would still be appropriate for you to get the vaccine to make sure you’re protected.
However, those that had COVID-19 should delay vaccination until about 90 days from diagnosis. People should not get vaccinated if in quarantine after exposure or if they have COVID-19 symptoms.
There is not enough information currently available to say if or for how long after infection someone is protected from getting COVID-19 again. This is called natural immunity. Early evidence suggests natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last very long, but more studies are needed to better understand this.
MYTH: I won't need to wear a mask after I get vaccinated for COVID-19.
FACT: It may take time for everyone who wants a COVID-19 vaccination to get one. Also, while the vaccine may prevent you from getting sick, it is unknown at this time if you can still carry and transmit the virus to others. Until more is understood about how well the vaccine works, continuing with precautions such as mask-wearing and physical distancing will be important.
Until more is understood about how well the vaccine works, continuing with precautions, such as wearing a mask and practicing physical distancing, will be important.
Even if you get the vaccine, you should continue to wear a mask around others, wash your hands and practice physical distancing. There are a few reasons for this. The first is that both of the authorized vaccines require two doses given three to four weeks apart to achieve the best possible immunity.
When you get your first shot, you don’t become immediately immune. “It takes at least a week to 10 days for your body to begin to develop antibodies, and then those antibodies continue to increase over the next several weeks"
The second is that these vaccines were developed and tested for their ability to prevent severe illness and death from COVID-19. It’s not clear whether they also protect against asymptomatic infection and spread.
“So after you get the vaccine, you should still take steps to protect other people who haven’t been vaccinated yet.”
The CDC continues to recommend that masks and physical distancing are required when going to the doctor’s office, hospitals or long-term care facilities.
MYTH: Getting the COVID-19 vaccine gives you COVID-19.
FACT: The vaccine for COVID-19 cannot and will not give you COVID-19. The two authorized mRNA vaccines instruct your cells to reproduce a protein that is part of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which helps your body recognize and fight the virus, if it comes along.
The COVID-19 vaccine does not contain the SARS-Co-2 virus, so you cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine. The protein that helps your immune system recognize and fight the virus does not cause infection of any sort.
MYTH: Now that we have vaccines, the pandemic will be over very soon.
FACT: “I would love to say that we’re going to flip a switch and everything’s going to be back to normal, but it’s actually going to take a long time for us to be able to vaccinate an adequate number of people to where we’ll start to see the cases really dropping,”
In order to achieve what’s called herd immunity – the point at which the disease is no longer likely to spread – about 70% of the population will need to have been vaccinated or infected, he says. But the companies that make these vaccines can only make so many at a time.
For now, we should all continue to do our part to help slow the spread of the virus, including wearing a mask, washing our hands and physical distancing.
MYTH: COVID-19 vaccines will alter my DNA.
FACT: The first COVID-19 vaccines to reach the market are likely to be messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines. According to the CDC, mRNA vaccines work by instructing cells in the body how to make a protein that triggers an immune response. Injecting mRNA into your body will not interact or do anything to the DNA of your cells. Human cells break down and get rid of the mRNA soon after they have finished using the instructions.
Both mRNA and viral vector COVID-19 vaccines deliver instructions (genetic material) to our cells to start building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. However, the material never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept.
This means the genetic material in the vaccines cannot affect or interact with our DNA in any way. All COVID-19 vaccines work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to disease.
MYTH: COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility or miscarriage.
FACT: No, COVID-19 vaccines have not been linked to infertility or miscarriage.
A sophisticated disinformation campaign has been circulating online, claiming that antibodies to the spike protein of COVID-19 produced from these vaccines will bind to placental proteins and prevent pregnancy. This disinformation is thought to originate from internet postings by a former scientist known to hold anti-vaccine views.
Because the COVID-19 vaccines do not contain the live virus (remember, it’s an mRNA vaccine), they are not thought to cause increased risk of infertility, first or second trimester loss, still birth or congenital anomalies. Additionally, there is no evidence to suggest that the vaccine is a risk to a breastfeeding baby.
These postings are not scientifically plausible, as COVID-19 infection has not been linked to infertility. Also, no other viral infection or vaccination-inducing immunity by similar mechanisms has been shown to cause infertility. Antibodies to the spike protein have not been linked to infertility after COVID-19 infection. There is no scientific reason to believe this will change after vaccination for COVID-19.
While there are no formal studies, the best evidence comes from women who got sick with COVID-19 while pregnant. While data clearly indicate pregnant women are at higher risk of hospitalization due to COVID-19 infection, there is no evidence of increased miscarriage rates.
During natural infection, the immune system generates the same antibodies to the spike protein that COVID-19 vaccines would. Thus, if COVID-19 affected fertility, there already would be an increase in miscarriage rates in women infected with COVID-19. This has not happened.
MYTH: Now that we have a vaccine for COVID-19, we can make vaccines for the common cold, HIV and other diseases.