3 Myths About COVID-19 Vaccines, Debunked By Science

By Chandra Pepino For Belo Medical Group on May 9, 2021

All around the world, populations are getting inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine—a fast-paced and unprecedented medical development unlike any we’ve seen in this lifetime. All props go to our global healthcare, medical research, and pharmaceutical communities for coming together to combat the pandemic. But as the United States approaches 40% vaccination status and other countries follow suit, many may fall victim to fake or unvalidated information about COVID-19 vaccines. Here are three myths about COVID-19 vaccines that have been thoroughly debunked by science.

  1. The COVID-19 vaccine will make me sick with COVID-19. 

“None of the authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines or COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19,” assures the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US. “This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19.” This applies to the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson vaccines, all of which have secured FDA approval in the US. 

As for SinoVac/CoronaVac, the most commonly administered vaccine in the Philippines as of writing, an inactivated version of the coronavirus is injected into your body. “Because the coronaviruses in CoronaVac are dead, they can be injected into the arm without causing Covid-19. Once inside the body, some of the inactivated viruses are swallowed up by a type of immune cell called an antigen-presenting cell,” explains the New York Times. “Once vaccinated with CoronaVac, the immune system can respond to an infection of live coronaviruses. B cells produce antibodies that stick to the invaders. Antibodies that target the spike protein can prevent the virus from entering cells. Other kinds of antibodies may block the virus by other means.”

  1. I already got COVID-19 and recovered. I don’t need to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Another myth! “Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, people may be advised to get a COVID-19 vaccine even if they have been sick with COVID-19 before,” explains Johns Hopkins Medicine. “There is not enough information currently available to say if or for how long people are protected from getting COVID-19 after they have had it (natural immunity). Early evidence suggests natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last very long, but more studies are needed to better understand this.” In short, you need all the protection you can get, whether you’ve tested positive before or not.

  1. The side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine are worse than getting COVID itself.

Listen to this explanation from the Mayo Clinic: “Circulating on social media is the claim that COVID-19’s mortality rate is 1%-2% and that people should not be vaccinated against a virus with a high survival rate. However, a 1% mortality rate is 10 times more lethal than the seasonal flu.” Yep, that’s right—10 times more lethal. They go on to say that the mortality rate “can vary widely and is influenced by age, sex and underlying health condition.”

When it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine, the benefits greatly outweigh the risks. “It’s important to recognize that getting the vaccine is not just about survival from COVID-19. It’s about preventing spread of the virus to others and preventing infection that can lead to long-term negative health effects. While no vaccine is 100% effective, they are far better than not getting a vaccine.”

The Philippines, as of writing, has just received 193,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine. According to the national government, millions more are slated to arrive by the end of the second quarter of 2021. And private companies are striving to inoculate their workforce, Belo Medical Group being one of them. Vaccines are the only way we can finally put an end to the pandemic, because no real cure has been developed yet. And if it’s our best chance at having our lives return to normal, then by all means, we should take it.

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