While most people around the world are eagerly waiting to get a COVID-19 vaccine, there is a small group of individuals who have reservations about getting vaccinated. The apprehensions and fears about COVID-19 vaccines have been fueled to a great extent by the myths and misconceptions circulating on social media. It is important to set the record straight by debunking the myths associated with the COVID-19 vaccine with facts.
COVID-19 vaccines: Myths and facts
Myth #1: The vaccine was hurried and is hence not safe
Fact: It is true that most of the COVID-19 vaccines have been developed at a relatively rapid speed. But that does not mean the established safety and testing protocols have been bypassed. In any case, the vaccine manufacturers must follow the established development processes. The vaccines have to undergo extensive clinical trials to prove that they are safe and effective. This is also true for emergency use authorization (EUA) approval.
Myth #2: The vaccine can give you COVID-19 infection
Fact: Like all the other vaccines, a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine will help develop immunity by imitating an infection. However, it is unlikely to cause a ‘real’ infection or illness. The COVID-19 vaccine will train our immune systems to identify and fight the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes the infection. However, it is important to note that our bodies will take some time to develop immunity after getting a COVID-19 vaccination.
Myth #3: mRNA vaccines can modify your natural DNA structure
Fact: Some of the COVID-19 vaccines have been developed using mRNA technology. Such vaccines use a fragment of the virus' genetic material to help the body create a protein that is present on the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This helps the immune system recognize the protein and produce antibodies to fight it. However, mRNA is not the same as DNA. According to medical researchers, mRNA cannot combine with human DNA to change its structure or genetic code.
Myth #4: You could get a serious reaction from the vaccine
Fact: Vaccination can lead to short-term mild or moderate reactions such as headache, chills, muscle pain, fatigue, or fever. The short-term reactions are common and usually resolve on their own within a day or two without causing any complication or injury. According to medical researchers, a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is unlikely to cause a serious reaction in otherwise healthy people. There have been isolated reports of some people developing allergic reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine in the United Kingdom and this is being investigated.
Myth #5: The vaccine can cause infertility in humans
Fact: Recently, there were rumors that the COVID-19 vaccine developed by specific companies can cause infertility in women. It was wrongly alleged that the vaccine contains a spike protein called syncytin-1 that cause female sterilization. According to medical researchers, there is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 vaccines can cause infertility in women or sterility in men.
Myth #6: The vaccine implants a chip in your body
Fact: Several conspiracy theories allege that certain individuals and governments plan to use vaccines to implant microchips in people for surveillance and other purposes. Currently, it is not possible to plant a microchip or any other sort of tracking device in a vaccine. Recently, a pharma giant shared the list of ingredients that are used in the manufacture of its COVID-19 vaccines to tackle such rumors and demonstrate that none of it resembles or contain microchips.
Myth #7: Immunity through Coronavirus infection is better
Fact: Some people believe that immunity acquired via natural infection is better than the immunity provided by vaccines. This is not true. Natural infection gives immunity only to a certain extent, it does not provide full protection. There have been reported cases of people getting COVID-19 infection twice. On the other hand, a COVID-19 vaccine will be able to offer stronger protection and reduce the risk of repeat infection. Unlike natural infections, vaccination cannot cause life-threatening or fatal complications.
The COVID-19 vaccines will be approved for use in humans only after rigorous and thorough testing. Therefore, people can be assured about their safety and effectiveness in preventing COVID-19 infection. However, it is important to stay clear of the misinformation being circulated in various online media. The truth is that vaccines have curbed major infectious outbreaks and saved millions of lives in the past. They can be trusted this time too.
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