Breaking down 10 common COVID-19 vaccine myths

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on everyone. Although at times it seems never-ending, there is hope on the horizon. Thanks to the global rollout of vaccines, we are one step closer to ending the pandemic and returning to some semblance of normal life—hopefully by later this year.

Unfortunately, a lot of misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine has been spread in recent months. Although it’s natural to be wary of new things, understanding the truth behind common COVID-19 vaccine myths can put those worries at ease.

Below are 10 of the most common myths about the COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer and the facts that debunk them.

Myth #1: The vaccine isn’t safe because it was rushed

Fact: One of the biggest myths regarding the COVID-19 vaccine is that its development was rushed, therefore making it unsafe. In reality, both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines went through months of rigorous testing to ensure that they are both safe and effective. Both vaccines are proven to be about 95 percent effective and do not cause serious or life-threatening side effects.

There are multiple reasons why the vaccines were able to be developed so quickly. In a traditional vaccine development program (not in a pandemic), companies spend months or even years raising funds, finding volunteers, and securing grants before vaccine research even begins. This process saves money down the road in case the vaccine is not approved.

For the COVID-19 vaccine, companies invested large amounts of money up-front to establish manufacturing facilities and secure ingredients so they could start shipping out doses as soon as the vaccine was approved. By doing these things at the same time as the clinical trials, companies like Moderna and Pfizer were able to develop their vaccines quickly without compromising on safety. Importantly, the length of the clinical trials was not condensed.

Moreover, these companies built on previous data about other coronaviruses and mRNA vaccines, which gave them a head-start on developing the COVID-19 vaccines that are currently rolling out around the world.

Myth #2: The COVID-19 vaccine changes my DNA

Fact: Many people believe that the COVID-19 vaccine changes your DNA since it uses messenger RNA (mRNA) to help the body build immunity. However, this is not true. The mRNA found in the vaccine does not enter the nucleus of the cell, where DNA is kept.

Instead, it instructs the cell’s organelles to produce a protein that helps the immune system identify and fight the SARS-Co-2 virus. The mRNA then breaks down without ever interacting with your DNA.

Myth #3: The COVID-19 vaccine leads to infertility

Fact: Another one of the biggest myths about the COVID-19 vaccine is that it can make women infertile. This myth arose from a false social media report which claimed the vaccine targets a spike protein on the virus that is identical to syncitin-1, another spike protein that plays a role in the placenta’s growth and attachment during pregnancy.

However, the spike protein being targeted by the COVID-19 vaccine is entirely different and unique from syncitin-1. This means that the vaccine does not affect fertility. In fact, Pfizer’s vaccine study included 23 volunteers who became pregnant. Only one of the women suffered a miscarriage, but she had received a placebo dose and not the vaccine.

Myth #4: The vaccine gives you COVID-19

Fact: Since the COVID-19 vaccine does not contain the SARS-Co-2 virus, it is impossible for it to give you COVID-19. Many people have reported side effects from the vaccine like a fever, chills, muscle aches, and headache. Although these are several of the symptoms that occur with a COVID-19 infection, they are actually a sign that your body’s immune system is at work and building a defense against the virus.

Myth #5: I don’t need the vaccine if I’ve already had COVID-19

Fact: Research shows that those who have already had COVID-19 once can be reinfected and get sick again. At this point, it is unclear how long natural immunity from a previous COVID-19 infection lasts. This means that the vaccine is still beneficial for those who have already had COVID-19 since it provides more reliable protection.

Myth #6: I don’t need to wear a mask after getting the COVID-19 vaccine

Fact: Eventually, the widespread rollout of COVID-19 vaccines means that we will no longer need to wear masks or practice social distancing. For now, however, those practices are still essential to prevent further spread of the virus to those who haven’t yet received the vaccine.

Research shows that the vaccine prevents you from developing moderate or severe COVID-19 symptoms. However, studies haven’t yet ruled out the possibility of vaccinated individuals spreading COVID-19 to others—even if they themselves don’t get sick. Until the vaccine is given to enough people, masks and social distancing are still essential to protect those around us.

Myth #7: The COVID-19 vaccine is a government tool to implant microchips in people

Fact: The idea that the COVID-19 vaccine contains a tracking chip from the government is simply not true. The myth arose when Microsoft founder Bill Gates suggested that we develop a digital way to keep track of who has had the vaccine. This does not reference a microchip or tracking chip and is not related to the development or production of the vaccine.

Myth #8: I don’t need the vaccine because the COVID-19 survival rate is high and I’m healthy

Fact: It’s true that the overall survival rate for COVID-19 is high—especially for young, healthy people. However, this does not take into account the other long-term effects of the virus. Those who survive may have serious complications later in life, including things like heart damage, permanent scar tissue in the lungs, strokes, seizures, blood clots, mental health changes, and early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. So, while it’s true that most people who get COVID-19 do survive, the vaccine can help prevent infections that lead to serious lifelong side effects.

Myth #9: The COVID-19 vaccine causes dangerous side effects

Fact: As mentioned earlier, many people report side effects after getting the vaccine. Fortunately, these are more of an inconvenience and aren’t dangerous. Things like fever, fatigue, headache, and sore muscles are signs of the immune system mounting a response to the vaccine to build immunity against COVID-19.

Myth #10: The mRNA technology used to make the COVID-19 vaccine is untested and unsafe

Fact: Although the COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are the first mRNA vaccines to be used outside of clinical trials, the technology has been around for several decades. In fact, it was first developed as a way to help scientists make vaccines faster in response to global outbreaks of an illness. So, while these are the first mRNA vaccines to reach the public, the technology has been tested for many years and has plenty of research to back it up.

Velocity Urgent Care is Here for Our Communities

Currently, COVID-19 vaccines are still in short supply as manufacturers work hard to produce more doses. Vaccines are currently being given to high-risk individuals like healthcare workers, teachers, and older adults who are most likely to have severe complications or die from the virus.

That being said, widespread vaccine rollouts are expected to begin later this year. Here at Velocity Urgent Care, we are working hard to ensure that we will have access to doses of the vaccine for the public when they become available.

We will keep you updated when that time comes.

Since the very start of the pandemic, Velocity Urgent Care has been at the forefront of the response in the communities we serve. That includes offering services like testing and office visits for those who feel sick and those who just want peace of mind.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are taking serious safety precautions to ensure that our locations are as clean as possible for those that need urgent medical care. We’ve put strict sterilization protocols into place and are carefully handling patients who may be contagious to ensure that each one of our clinics is as safe as possible.

Don’t put your health at risk by waiting to seek out treatment!

Velocity Urgent Care is an in-network provider for most major insurance plans, meaning you can be seen for the cost of your co-pay and deductible. All of our locations also accept Medicare, Medicaid, and Tricare. Veterans Administration beneficiaries are also welcome.

To find out more about our services, locations, hours, and more, visit www.velocityuc.com.