The world has been longing for a COVID-19 vaccine since the start of the pandemic, so it was welcome news when Health Canada approved the first COVID-19 vaccine, tozinameran by Pfizer-BioNTech, in December 2020. Although it's available now, you might be skeptical of getting it with the number of rumours going around. Not sure you know the truth about the COVID-19 vaccine? Let's take a look at some common myths about the COVID-19 vaccine and separate fact from fiction.
Rumour #1: The vaccines will make you sick with COVID-19.
The new COVID-19 vaccines will not make you sick with COVID-19. The vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are not made of the live virus that causes COVID-19, instead it is made up of messenger RNA (mRNA). The goal of this vaccine is to teach your body to recognize and fight the virus by giving the instructions (mRNA) to make a harmless protein of the virus. After the protein is made, the cell breaks down the instructions (mRNA) and gets rid of them. Your immune system then recognizes the protein since it doesn't typically belong there. This triggers your body to make antibodies, which will protect you from being infected with the real COVID-19 virus if it were to enter your body in the future.
AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine uses a harmless, modified virus (vector) that normally causes chimpanzees to get the common cold. This vector will deliver genetic instructions to the cells in your body to make the spike protein of COVID-19. Once these cells present the spike protein on their surface, the immune system can recognize them and start making antibodies.
Rumour #2: The vaccines were rushed and there hasn't been enough testing.
Vaccine development is usually a long process and can take several years. However, the first 2 COVID-19 vaccines were developed and approved for use in a matter of 8 months. This rapid timeline may sound alarming, but it was possible due to the large amount of funding, time and effort spent on research.
New vaccines go through different stages before being approved: preclinical trials and clinical trials (phases I, II and III). Preclinical trials involve testing the vaccine in cells and in animals. During phase I of clinical trials, the vaccine is given to a small number of healthy people. In phase II, the vaccine is given to more people who fit the characteristics of the intended target population. In phase III, the vaccine is given to thousands of people (usually 1,000 to 3,000) to test for effectiveness and safety.
The COVID-19 vaccine underwent the same rigorous testing as any other vaccine, but was fast-tracked by completing many stages at the same time. This means that all the usual safety checks were performed and completed simultaneously, rather than separately, saving a lot of time. The phase II/III trial of the new COVID-19 vaccine also had over 43,000 participants, which is far more than normally required.
Rumour #3: We don't need multiple vaccines from different companies.
Vaccines are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Currently, the available COVID-19 vaccines cannot be given to everyone. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is only approved for use in people 16 years of age and over, and the Moderna vaccine is only approved for use in those 18 years of age and over. Like the Moderna vaccine, the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is also approved for use in those 18 years of age and over, but the National Advisory Committee on Immunizations (NACI) is not currently recommending that the AstraZeneca vaccine be used on Canadians aged 65 or older. It's important to have multiple vaccines available so that everyone can be safely vaccinated and protected against COVID-19. Each vaccine may have different requirements, and if you can't receive one vaccine for any reason, there's a good chance that you can get another one. As of now, there are over 200 vaccines in development around the world, with about 10 in phase III clinical trials.
Rumour #4: The COVID-19 vaccine doesn't work or isn't safe.
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine were found to be about 95% effective in preventing COVID-19 infection beginning 1 week after the second dose.
The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is estimated to be 62% effective, with no major safety concerns, and was well tolerated by study participants.
The main side effects seen were injection site pain, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain and fever. These side effects were usually mild or moderate, and went away within a few days, similar to what you might experience with other vaccines.
Rumour #5: The vaccines are not safe for people with allergies.
While it is possible to have an allergic reaction to the new vaccine, the chances of that happening are very slim. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction include hives (itchy bumps on the skin); swelling of the face, tongue or throat; and difficulty breathing. These symptoms usually begin immediately or within 30 minutes of getting the vaccine. People with common allergies (e.g., foods, insects, pollen, medications) are no more likely than the general public to have a serious allergic reaction to the vaccine.
If you have a history of severe allergic reactions to any component of the COVID-19 vaccine, you should not receive it. Talk to your health care professional if you think you may be allergic to one or more of the vaccine ingredients.
Rumour #6: I've already had COVID-19 so I don't need to get the vaccine.
After someone is infected with COVID-19 and has recovered, they may have some protection from getting COVID-19 again. However, at this time, scientists do not know how long this natural immunity lasts. Early evidence suggests natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last long, but more research is needed to better understand this.
Because the health risks associated with COVID-19 infection can be severe, and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, you may be advised to get the COVID-19 vaccine even if you've had COVID-19 before. If there is a limited supply of the vaccine, those who have already tested positive may have their COVID-19 vaccination delayed. Talk to your health care professional if you're not sure whether you need the vaccine.
Rumour #7: Wearing a mask is not necessary after getting vaccinated.
Even after getting the COVID-19 vaccine, experts recommend that you continue to wear a mask and practice recommended public health measures. The new COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective in preventing COVID-19 beginning 1 week after the second dose. This means that it may take at least 1 week after your second dose to become protected against COVID-19, and that there is still a small chance you can get sick with COVID-19 even if you get the vaccine.
While the vaccine may prevent you from getting sick, it is unknown if you can still carry the virus and transmit it to others. It may take a while until everyone can be vaccinated, and until more data is gathered, it is important to continue to wear face masks and to follow local public health recommendations.
Rumour #8: The vaccine may cause infertility.
There is no evidence that the new COVID-19 vaccines can affect a woman's fertility in any way. While pregnant and breast-feeding women were excluded from the phase III trials, some participants became pregnant after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine and are now being closely monitored.
Currently, it is not recommended to get the new COVID-19 vaccine if you are pregnant or breast-feeding, due to the limited data on the effectiveness and safety of the vaccine for these groups. However, if you are pregnant or breast-feeding and would like to get the vaccine, talk to your health care professional.
Rumour #9: The COVID-19 vaccine was developed to microchip people for information.
The COVID-19 vaccine was developed to prevent people from getting COVID-19. There is no evidence that the vaccine has microchips in it that would track you or your personal information.
Rumour #10: The mRNA vaccine will alter my DNA.
The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines contain mRNA, which are genetic instructions on how to make proteins. After getting the vaccine, your cells use the mRNA to make the coronavirus spike protein, then break down and destroy the mRNA after it's been used. The mRNA from the COVID-19 vaccine never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is stored. This means that the mRNA does not affect or interact with our DNA at all.
All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2021. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/10-Common-COVID-19-Vaccine-Rumours