There has been a surge of misinformation shared online since the development of coronavirus vaccine.
Below we take a look at the most prevalent myths.
MYTH: THE VACCINE WAS RUSHED, SO IT’S PROBABLY NOT SAFE.
Testing for the Covid-19 vaccine broke development records, leading to fears it may have been “rushed”.
But in reality, the extenuating circumstances of the pandemic allowed researchers to utilise emergency funding, concentrating global resources into a single endeavour. They did all the research and development required for other vaccines, but the enhanced funding allowed them to do this in a smaller time frame.
The UK medicines regulator – MHRA – said it had “rigorously assessed the data in the shortest time possible, without compromising the thoroughness of our review” – adding that it reviewed preliminary data on the vaccine trials dating back to June and had been running a “rolling review” since October which helped speed the process.
Does the fact that this vaccine has been approved so quickly mean that shortcuts have been taken?
The very simple and quick answer to this is absolutely not. You can read more here.
“Usually, when vaccine development studies are carried out, there are many steps that are taken sequentially. Multiple phases of clinical trials (Phase I to Phase III) need to be completed before regulators can give their approval. They are done one after another because, for example, under normal circumstances it would be a waste of time and money to start designing a Phase III study until you knew that your Phase II study was completed successfully. But when every day means more deaths worldwide, you are not so worried about wasting time and money and can undertake some activities simultaneously without compromising the integrity of the trial.
Finally, a company wouldn’t usually consider mass producing a new vaccine until they were sure that it worked. But companies have been taking the risk and mass-producing Covid-19 vaccines well in advance of study results, just in case they were successful.
Approval of this vaccine has taken place at record speed, but it does not mean that corners have been cut and it does not mean that all the proper procedures haven’t been carried out.”
MYTH: DELAYS OR PAUSES IN THE PROCESS MEANT TRIALS WEREN’T GOING WELL.
Every scientific process, including creating vaccines, can have pauses or delays, but it doesn’t mean trials aren’t going well. Pauses or delays mean the safety system in place is working as it should, which is reassuring.
Earlier this year, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca paused COVID-19 vaccination clinical trials in an overabundance of caution for the safety of volunteers. They have since resumed the trials.
MYTH: I DON’T WANT THE COVID-19 VIRUS INJECTED INTO MY BODY.
The COVID-19 vaccine does not use dead or weakened strains of coronavirus. mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are a new type of vaccine to protect against infectious diseases. To trigger an immune response, many vaccines put a weakened or inactivated germ into our bodies. Not mRNA vaccines.
Instead, they teach our cells how to make a protein—or even just a piece of a protein—that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real COVID-19 virus enters our bodies.
MYTH: IT’S SAFE FOR ME TO GET VACCINATED, BUT NOT MY FAMILY. I DON’T WANT THE VACCINE TO GET MY FAMILY SICK.
Receiving a vaccine will not make other people sick. Additionally, because the COVID-19 vaccination does not use any form of the virus, either in a dead or weakened state, any risk which might have been a possibility in transmitting COVID-19 to family or friends is not plausible.
MYTH: I’LL GET THE FIRST ROUND OF VACCINE, BUT I WON’T NEED THE SECOND.
There are some viruses and some bacteria that we vaccinate against and one dose of the vaccine just doesn’t provide full immunity to prevent illness. Priming your immune system with the first dose allows it to react to it once, create some memory and then when you get exposed to it a second time through the second vaccination, it really develops that full, long-term memory.
MYTH: IF I GET VACCINATED FOR COVID-19, I’LL BE MORE VULNERABLE TO ILLNESSES.
While the COVID-19 vaccine will work to teach your immune system to recognize and protect against coronavirus, it is not proven to make you vulnerable to other illnesses. You may experience the typical sore arm, slight fever or aches, but that’s a sign your immune system is active and getting ready to protect you against COVID-19, if necessary.
MYTH: BECAUSE VACCINES ARE AVAILABLE, THE PANDEMIC IS OVER.
According to the US CDC, while experts learn more about the protection COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions, it will be important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to us to help stop this pandemic, like covering your mouth and nose with a mask, washing hands often, and staying at least six feet away from others. Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC’s recommendations for how to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19.
Experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide before deciding to change recommendations on steps everyone should take to slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. Other factors, including how many people get vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in communities, will also affect this decision.
MYTH: THE VACCINE CHANGES YOUR DNA.
The vaccine does not change your DNA. It’s called an mRNA vaccine, which is a type of vaccine that causes your cells to make an inactive part of virus that triggers an immune response. That immune response is what protects us from getting infected if the real COVID-19 virus enters our bodies.