When COVID-19 started spreading at the beginning of 2020, it caught almost every country unaware. Social distancing, wearing a mask, and regular sanitization of hands were some measures advocated by the World Health Organization as it tried to understand and come to grips with this new problem that we all faced.
We have come a long way from the beginning of the pandemic when we knew nothing about the virus to today when we have a number of vaccinations available to fight the virus. Despite the COVID19 vaccine being one of the fastest to be developed in response to a pandemic the safety and efficacy have not been compromised for the speedy delivery of the vaccine. All the vaccines from various manufacturers have gone through multiple stages of stringent clinical trials. They were also extensively tested and monitored for establishing their safety and efficacy. Unfortunately, there have been a lot of myths and misinformation surrounding vaccines and their development. While deciding to get vaccinated, it is important to approach the process with a clear mind by separating myths from facts. Let’s have a closer look at these myths and understand why they are so disconnected from the facts.
The COVID-19 vaccine is not safe because it was developed in a rush without following the mandatory testing and trial processes.
The COVID-19 vaccines were thankfully developed in record time, but they have all gone through the stringent safety and testing processes mandated by authorities. It is unthinkable that any manufacturer will even think of skipping steps to accelerate the roll-out of vaccines. Because of the extremely serious nature of the situation, all players involved in the vaccine development process threw in all possible resources available to deliver a fully-tested and safe vaccine in record time.
You need not get vaccinated if you had COVID in the recent past.
This is not true. If you have had a COVID-19 infection in the past, it does not always give you full immunity from the virus depending on your antibody retention. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) strongly recommends that those who have had COVID-19 infection in the past must get vaccinated for enhanced protection. Studies also show that natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last very long depending on the individual. More research is taking place to understand this better.
The vaccine can adversely affect fertility in women
The COVID-19 vaccine does not interfere with women’s fertility. The COVID-19 vaccine encourages the body to create copies of the spike proteins found on the coronavirus’s surface. This helps the body’s immune system to fight the virus. The confusion about vaccines affecting women’s fertility arose because of some unsubstantiated reports shared on social media channels that the spike protein on this coronavirus is similar to the spike protein associated with the growth and attachment of the placenta during pregnancy. It has been established that these two spike proteins are not the same by any comparison measures.
I can stop wearing a mask and need not take any virus-specific precautions after I have taken the COVID-19 vaccination.
The CDC revised safety guidelines, released on May 13, 2021, for those who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, state that fully vaccinated individuals can recommence normal activities without using a mask or social distancing. However, there are federal, state, and other rules and regulations applicable to each state. Make sure you follow these guidelines and comply with the rules and regulations applicable in these states. The CDC has strongly advocated the use of masks and physical distancing measures when visiting the doctor’s office, hospitals, or other medical facilities.
People with suppressed immune systems must avoid getting vaccinated.
This is not true. People undergoing treatment for cancer treatments or autoimmune diseases should definitely get vaccinated. They will get as much protection from the virus as those with healthy immune systems. Those having any concerns should consult their doctor for professional advice instead of relying on online rumors which can increase their chances of getting infected.
Pregnant or breastfeeding women must not get vaccinated.
This is false. The CDC has stated that it is fine for pregnant women to get vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine. Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers are not at any risk from the vaccination. The vaccine is not a live virus and hence there is no chance it will pass to the baby.
The COVID-19 vaccine includes a tracking device/microchip.
Not true at all. This and many such claims are being made and shared on Facebook and other social media channels. There are no such devices or microchips in the vaccine. This is a bizarre claim which has been debunked by scientists, and the leading vaccine manufacturers such as Pfizer and Moderna have gone public with the list of their vaccine ingredients to roundly debunk such preposterous claims.
The COVID-19 vaccine alters the DNA after entering the cells.
Another myth without any substance - The COVID-19 vaccines help your body’s immune system fight the virus. Yes, it’s true that the messenger RNA from two of the first types of COVID-19 vaccines does enter cells. However, it does not enter the nucleus of the cells which contains the DNA. The mRNA triggers the cell to make protein to stimulate the immune system and breaks it down quickly. At no stage is the DNA altered or affected.
Admittedly, you cannot convince everyone and that’s why you will likely come across many who are opposed to the vaccine. However, it is evident from research papers and various studies conducted across the globe that if we ever want to get control of the COVID-19 virus, people need to get vaccinated.