The COVID-19 vaccine is playing a vital role in getting the current pandemic under control. A high uptake of the vaccine is key to ensure we have more protection within our communities, this will allow us to save lives! Unfortunately, with vaccine distribution increasing, some myths regarding the vaccine have also been spread. Identifying and tackling these myths, will help us to gain a better understanding of the vaccine and the importance of getting vaccinated once offered.
MYTH #1: The vaccine will give you COVID-19.
TRUTH #1: You cannot become infected with COVID-19 from the vaccine. The vaccine does not include any live virus. Instead, it uses mRNA technology, which instructs the human body to create proteins, these proteins then help the body’s immune system to detect and react to the virus. The body remembers this response for the future and applies it if you become exposed to COVID-19. After being vaccinated, an individual may experience mild side-effects such as a temperature, an achy body and tiredness, these are normal. The vaccine will not alter an individual’s DNA.
MYTH #2: Having the vaccine will make you test positive for COVID-19.
TRUTH #2: Having the vaccine will not produce a positive result on a COVID-19 test. However, it may take a few weeks after having the vaccine for it to become fully effective, therefore it is still possible to become infected within the first few weeks of being vaccinated.
MYTH #3: Those who have already been infected with COVID-19 will not need the vaccine.
TRUTH #3: There is not sufficient evidence to suggest how long an individual retains natural immunity. It is possible to become infected with COVID-19 more than once, so having the vaccine should help to provide future protection.
MYTH #4: The COVID-19 vaccine contains a tracking device.
TRUTH #4: None of the COVID-19 vaccines contain tracking devices, this is a conspiracy theory.
MYTH #5: Those who are unlikely to develop serious complications as a result of becoming infected with COVID-19, do not need the vaccine.
TRUTH #5: Although certain risk factors may make an individual more likely to develop serious complications as a result of COVID-19, anyone could potentially become severely ill and this cannot always be predicted. Not only will receiving the vaccine increase your protection, it will also help protect your family, friends and others around you, as even if you do not have any risk factors for serious complications you can still catch and spread COVID-19.
MYTH #6: The vaccine was developed too quickly- it’s unsafe!
TRUTH #6: The vaccine programs have been extremely comprehensive, with all data being thoroughly reviewed. Like non-COVID vaccine programs, testing stages for vaccine safety had not been altered or skipped, to ensure they reached the appropriate standards. The vaccines were developed quicker than usual due to there being an urgent need during the world-wide pandemic. During this, there was sufficient funding, and collaboration from many groups such as manufactures, universities and epidemiologists.
MYTH #7: The vaccine will leave you infertile.
TRUTH #7: Following all of the comprehensive and thorough clinical trials, there has been no evidence to suggest that the vaccine will cause infertility or any problems during pregnancy. Having COVID-19 when pregnant can increase the chances of miscarriage, therefore having the vaccine could help protect you and any foetuses, if you do decide to have children in the future.
MYTH #8: Once I’ve had the vaccine, I do not need to follow COVID-19 precautions.
TRUTH #8: You still need to follow all COVID-19 precautions such as social distancing and mask wearing. The COVID-19 vaccines are approximately 90- 95% effective, so there is still a chance of becoming infected with COVID-19. However, the more people that accept the vaccine, the more overall immunity our communities will have, and the sooner restrictions are likely to be eased.