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Top 10 COVID-19 Myths Demystified

1. “I don’t need the vaccine if I had COVID.”

If you previously had COVID-19, you still need to be vaccinated. Studies show that

natural antibody response starts to decrease after 90 days. Risk of re-infection was present prior to the development of variants but the risk is even higher with new and continuous risk of variants like the Delta variant. Studies show that vaccines offers better protection over a longer period of time for coronavirus than natural infection.

2. “Vaccine development was rushed.”

The technology in which the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were based, mRNA technology, has been 10 years in the making. It began with HIV research and expanded to Zika, rabies, CMV, and other coronaviruses. There are several factors that moved things along expeditiously. China isolated and shared genetic information about COVID-19 promptly, which helped to expedite the development of the vaccine across the globe. Vaccine developers conducted some of the steps on an overlapping schedule, instead of sequential, to gather data faster. Vaccine projects were well-resourced and recruiting study volunteers were easily recruited as the community was eager to participate.

3. “Getting the vaccine gives you COVID-19.”

Neither of the vaccines give you COVID-19 as none of them contains the full SARS-Co-2 virus. mRNA vaccines instruct cells to reproduce only the spike protein that is part of the coronavirus and facilitates infection. The immune system recognizes the spike protein as foreign and fights the virus to help prevent infection and severe illness. The mRNA is in the cell for days, then is destroyed.

The DNA vaccine does not require the body’s cells to create the protein. Instead, the immune system immediately recognizes the spike protein DNA as foreign and creates a response to reduce risk of COVID-19 infection and severe illness.

4. “The vaccine enters cells and changes DNA.”

Our DNA is housed in the nucleus of our cells. The mRNA vaccines enter our cells but not the nucleus of the cells as the nucleus has to be physically penetrated to get to the DNA. The vaccine triggers our cells to make spike protein to stimulate the immune system but is quickly broken down by the body without affecting our DNA.

5. “The side effects of the vaccine are more dangerous than COVID-19.”

There are side effects associated with the vaccine but the majority are short-term and mild. The most common side effects are pain at injection site, body aches, headaches or fever, lasting for a day or two. Data does not demonstrate that any of the symptoms linked to the vaccine are worse than symptoms associated with COVID-19. Studies do show increased risk of blood clots and Guillain Barre Syndrome associated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and increased risk of myocarditis associated with the mRNA vaccines. However, there is significant risk of each of these health issues with the COVID-19 infection. COVID-19 infections are also more commonly linked with complications and prolonged symptoms, known as long COVID.

6. “The vaccine contains controversial substances.”

There are a lot of concerns about metals and other chemicals within the vaccine. However, the ingredients within the mRNA vaccines are relatively simple. They consist of fats to protect the mRNA from being broken down by the body. Salts and a small amount of sugar are included to maintain pH. Specifically for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, there was no use of fetal tissue in the development of the vaccine. Current science uses clones of the early cells, not the original tissue. For neither of the vaccines is there any material, such as implants,, microchips or tracking devices.

7. “Vaccines affect fertility.”

A false report surfaced on social media linking the COVID-19 spike protein to another spike protein involved in the growth and attachment of the placenta during pregnancy. The claim was that the COVID-19 vaccine would cause a woman’s body to fight this different spike protein and affect her fertility. The two spike proteins are completely different and distinct. 28 women in the Pfizer vaccine group became pregnant during the clinical trial. Additional studies have shown no link between the vaccine and issues with fertility.

8. “The vaccine causes miscarriages.”

There have been similar claims made that the vaccines increase the risk of miscarriages but no data to date supports this claim. During the Pfizer vaccine trials, 23 women volunteers involved in the study became pregnant, and the only one who suffered a pregnancy loss was in the placebo group. A recent study has found data showing that the miscarriage rate among vaccinated people was in line with the rate expected in the general population. The CDC has now approved the COVID-19 for pregnant women.

9. “You won’t get or spread COVID if you are vaccinated.”

Evidence demonstrates that people vaccinated for COVID-19 can still acquire and

transmit the virus, even when they themselves don’t get sick. Vaccines were evaluated for their ability to decrease symptom severity and death, not their ability to prevent transmission but current studies are now demonstrate that the vaccines decrease risk of infection after exposure. The vaccine was never expected to be 100% effective

against infections so “breakthrough” cases are expected so some who are vaccinated will still become infected. However, as the data consistently shows, they will be less ill and have decreased risk of hospitalization and dying.

10. “We don’t need to wear masks.”

We absolutely need to continue to wear masks, regardless of vaccination status. Masks are one of the most effective tools we can use to decrease transmission of COVID-19. For example, using an N95 mask reduces the spread of COVID-19 by over 90%. With the current variants, we now know that vaccinated people can shed just as much virus as unvaccinated people, even with asymptomatic infections. Therefore, it is imperative that we all wear masks, at least indoors. No peer-reviewed reliable study has demonstrated any safety issues with mask-wearing. Wearing a mask does not impair your immune system, lower your oxygen, or impair your brain cells. COVID-19 does so mask up!

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