Pharmaceuticals companies have been working around the clock to produce perhaps the most awaited vaccine in the modern history of mankind. Now that the COVID-19 vaccines have arrived and proven to be effective against the virus, it has also led to many misconceptions discrediting the true success of it. Their safety and efficiency have been under scrutiny and the potential concerns of side effects have clouded the minds spreading a rather negative vibe. The propagation of misinformation has resulted in a large population refusing to take the vaccine as they feel they are rather safer without it. On this note, we are going to bust the most common myths associated to the COVID-19 vaccine.
Myth: The vaccine isn’t reliable enough as it was developed too quickly
The first thought in everyone’s mind against a COVID-19 vaccine is, “Is it safe? Did the companies even spend enough time on it?”, the answer to this is “Yes”. Even though it may feel that the development of the vaccines was rushed due to the widespread of the disease, it certainly doesn’t imply that companies have compromised on the safety protocols at any level. The Pfizer vaccine showed a 95% success rate on about 43,000 participants with no significant side effects. Comparably, the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine was assessed on 20,000 people and was found to be effective as well as safe for use. After vaccinating, the manufacturing companies have had to the participants for over 2 months to make sure that the vaccine was safe to use. The federal authorities have also had to review the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines before it reached the general population. The reduced time of producing the vaccines resulted from utilizing more resources in a short period of time. Thus, we can say COVID-19 vaccine was no exempt from the other vaccines that have been invented.
Myth: My DNA could be modified after taking the COVID-19 Vaccine
A ludicrous myth has been floating around in the recent months claiming that mRNA vaccination can alter someone’s genetic coding. Neither is this true nor it is medically possible, this worrying myth has brought about a negative emotion from people around the world who tend to believe that this could happen to them. To clarify, lets begin with what mRNA stands for? A lot of vaccines that are developed use a fragmentation of the virus’ genetical constitution which is call RNA (ribonucleic acid), mRNA is the messenger RNA that plays a vital role in the human bodies specially in the process of protein synthesis. The confusion arose as people believed that there is an interaction between DNA (genetic composition) and RNA as the later is responsible for transporting genetic codes from DNA in the cell’s nucleus to the protein making machinery. The truth is, there is no interaction between the messenger RNA and DNA. COVID-19 vaccines just utilise the mRNA as assistance to help the human body develop a natural deference mechanism against the disease. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that “mRNA is not able to alter or modify a person’s DNA. The mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept”. To sum it up, vaccines aren’t capable of resulting any genetic modification unless foreign DNA are intentionally injected in our systems.
Myth: COVID-19 vaccines can give me side effects
In the initial studies of COVID-19 vaccines, it was noted that about 15% of the participants experienced mild symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, muscle pain, fever or chills. Such symptoms have always been a part of any vaccination process. Most of these symptoms occurred within the first few weeks after administering the vaccine. It is crucial to understand that after a vaccine enters our system, the body is alarmed and starts building a robust system to fight it off. Ever since mRNA vaccines have been tried on humans for diseases like influenza, rabies, Zika, etc., no serious side effects have been reported. The same stands for COVID-19 vaccines, thus it is important to have faith in this vaccine just like we had in the others.
Myth: I can contract COVID-19 from the COVID-19 vaccine
There has been frightening news circulating around that COVID-19 vaccine will give you COVID-19. Such claims have been repudiated by health experts around the world. Dr. Thomas J. Duszynski, Director of epidemiology education at Indiana University stated that “Some people may believe that as soon as you are vaccinated you are protected from the disease and that is not correct. When you get vaccinated, we have to wait for something called seroconversion”. During this process of seroconversion, our bodies treat the vaccine content as invaders and build an attack to defeat it. This is the process where the body develops antibodies that help fight the virus. This process doesn’t occur in a day, it rather takes many weeks. If you’re exposed to the COVID-19 in the meantime, there are still chances of you contracting the disease. No vaccine has immediate results as the body must be prepared to fight it.
Myth: I will be susceptible to other diseases after taking the COVID-19 vaccine
The purpose of a vaccine is to solely provide a well-fitting immunity that over a period will help fight the disease. Vaccines have never been responsible for hampering an individual’s immunity and making them more vulnerable towards other disease. Most of the COVID-19 vaccines don’t comprise of any live viruses that have the potential to make you unwell. The vaccination process helps elicit the human body to detect a potential virus protein and combat it successfully.
Myth: I don’t need the vaccine as I already had COVID-19
It cannot be denied that once the virus has entered the body, it has already developed antibodies. Needless to say, these antibodies may not have the longevity to keep another COVID-19 attack at bay. It is possible to be reinfected shortly after the initial exposure. The CDC states that “At this time, experts do not know how long someone is protected from getting infected again after recovering from COVID-19”. The answer to this question is rather very subjective as every human body’s immunity differs from the other. The vaccine should still be taken to protect oneself and the others around.
Myth: Wearing masks will be a practice of the past once everyone is vaccinated for COVID-19
Following the safety norms currently in place are very crucial until more is understood about how the COVID-19 vaccine works. The current data doesn’t hold sufficient results to validate that virus will not be transmitted after an individual is vaccinated. Always wearing a face mask when in public and maintaining 2 meters distance should still be considered a standard practice. This will add more value to minimising cases.