COVID vaccine myths began spreading before the first vaccine was ever administered. While most people disregard some of the more “out-there” conspiracy theories, some COVID vaccine myths sound like they may have a basis in science, which makes them harder to ignore or dismiss.
The medical professionals at Complete Care have decided to tackle this particular type of myth so that you have the information you need to make the right decisions regarding vaccinations for you and your loved ones.
For basic COVID-19 information, including updates regarding COVID-19 testing for symptomatic patients and tips on sending your child to school during COVID, please visit our website or call your closest Complete Care location.
Myth #1: The COVID vaccine causes infertility
Can the COVID-19 vaccine make me infertile? In short, no. But rumors have been started that might have made you think otherwise.
Myth Origin 1: A March 2021 article written by HealthGuard and published by Encyclopaedia Britannica attributes the start of this myth to a British YouTuber, Zed Phoenix, who claimed, among other things, “that an unnamed source at pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline told him that 61 of the 63 women tested with a COVID-19 vaccine became infertile… ” However, Phoenix was likely drawing data from a completely unrelated 1989 study on vaccines created to decrease infertility. For a full fact-check report, please see this investigative Reuters article.
Myth Origin 2: An article published by Health & Money News with the headline “Head of Pfizer Research: Covid Vaccine is Female Sterilization” began circulating on social media in late 2020. The article states that COVID vaccines contain a spike protein called syncytin-1, a spike protein associated with the growth and attachment of the placenta during pregnancy. Investigations have shown, firstly, that the head of Pfizer made no such statement (it was made by a Michael Yeadon, who left the company over a decade ago and who is regularly flagged for spreading misinformation), and also that the spike protein included in the COVID vaccine is very different from syncytin-1. For a full fact-check report, you can check out the AFP Fact Check article or a similar report by Snopes.
The facts about COVID-19 vaccine, infertility, and pregnancy:
- There is no evidence that COVID-19 affects fertility in males or females.
- Women who wish to have children in the future should not be afraid to get the COVID-19 vaccine
- The effects of the COVID-19 vaccine on pregnant women are still being actively studied. However, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that COVID-19 vaccines “should not be withheld from pregnant individuals.” For more information, please read ACOG’s extensive Practice Advisory for pregnant and lactating patients.
Myth #2: The COVID vaccine research was rushed, making the vaccine unsafe
The push to find a vaccine in 2020 was immense, and scientists answered the call. In a sad (but perhaps predictable) twist of fate, however, the relatively quick turnaround of the vaccine made people skeptical of its safety. The news and social media have played on that fear even though all the necessary precautions and required steps were taken to produce today’s vaccines.
The facts about COVID-19 vaccine safety:
COVID-19 vaccines were not rushed, and they are safe to receive. The speed with which the vaccines were created does not point to “skipped steps” on the part of vaccine developers. Each vaccine was subject to rigorous testing (including thousands of preclinical and clinical trials) before receiving FDA authorization.
There are reasons why the vaccines’ speedy creation was possible, including the following:
- The biggest roadblocks for scientific research tend to be funding and lack of public interests/awareness: the unusually high amounts of government funding and public interest invested in the development of these vaccines significantly smoothed the development of the COVID vaccines
- The methods used to develop the vaccines were already well-established during research toward other vaccines; nobody had to reinvent the wheel to get started on a solution.
- The high profile of COVID-19 made it easier for companies to find the volunteers needed for studies and tests
- The widespread amount of sick individuals made it easier for researchers to measure the efficacy of their vaccines
FAQ: Is the COVID vaccine FDA-approved?
No. But at the time of writing, the 3 major vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson) have Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). The FDA continues to carefully monitor each vaccine and has been a vocal supporter of their use. You can learn more about the FDA authorization of the vaccines and the FDA’s required vaccine development process on their website.
Myth #3: The COVID vaccine can cause COVID-19
Another one of the more prominent COVID vaccine myths is that the COVID vaccines can actually give you COVID-19. This misconception is likely encouraged by the side effects of COVID-19 vaccines. Since the COVID vaccine does not contain a live SARS-CoV-2 virus, the vaccines can’t make you sick with COVID-19.
The facts about how the COVID vaccine works:
- The COVID-19 vaccine cannot give you COVID-19.
- For a full overview of how the COVID-19 vaccine helps to immunize you from COVID-19, please see this CDC article on “Understanding How COVID-19 Vaccines Work.”
- Individuals who receive the COVID-19 vaccines may experience side effects such as pain, redness, and swelling near the injection site, and/or fatigue, nausea, chills, headache, muscle pains, and fever. These side effects are good signs that your body is building immunity to COVID-19 and should resolve within a day or two; they are not symptoms of COVID-19.
- After you receive your shot, your body begins building antibodies to COVID-19 that will help reduce your likelihood of contracting the virus and protect you from getting a serious form of the coronavirus. However, if you were exposed to COVID-19 directly before or after you received the shot, your body may not have had enough time to build up antibodies to effectively fight the disease. You may still get sick.
- After you are vaccinated, you will not test positive for COVID-19 on a COVID as a result of getting the vaccine. The only reason you would test positive on a COVID test is that you have COVID-19.
Myth #4: The COVID vaccine will alter your DNA
There has been a lot of hype surrounding the (messenger ribonucleic acid) mRNA vaccines Pfizer and Moderna, including an increasingly popular COVID vaccine myth that mRNA vaccines can alter your DNA. The mRNA in these vaccines does enter your cells, causing the cells to build a protein, which your body then fights by creating antibodies — but the mRNA never enters the nucleus of the cell, where DNA resides, nor does it interact with your DNA at all.
The facts about COVID vaccines and your DNA:
- mRNA vaccines cannot and do not alter your DNA.
- Please visit the CDC’s website for more information on how mRNA vaccines work.
Myth #5: You won’t need to wear a mask after receiving a COVID vaccine
After over a year of wearing masks, isolating, and quarantining, it’s natural to want everything to go back to normal. Unfortunately, the idea that you don’t need to wear a mask after receiving a vaccine is yet another COVID vaccine myth. For the time being, everyone — including individuals who have been vaccinated — is strongly encouraged to continue wearing masks as a means of protecting the more vulnerable members of our society.
The facts about mask-wearing after immunization:
- While we know that individuals who have been vaccinated are less likely to get a serious case of COVID-19, scientists are still learning about immunity after the COVID vaccine.
- For example, you may be wondering, “Can you still spread COVID with the vaccine?” But the extent to which the COVID vaccine helps prevent the spread of COVID is not yet fully understood.
- Since science still has much to learn regarding the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines in regards to COVID variants, how long the vaccine protects individuals, etc., it is best to continue practicing standard pandemic safety measures when meeting with unvaccinated individuals or going out in public. These include:
- Wearing masks
- Avoiding large groups
- Standing at least 6 ft. apart
- Regularly washing your hands.
Myth #6: You don’t need a COVID vaccine if you’ve already had COVID-19
It’s true that if you were previously infected with COVID-19 that your immune system may temporarily be able to protect you from getting infected again — but it’s not true that getting infected and/or exposing yourself to future infection is the best way to immunize yourself against COVID-19.
The facts about getting a COVID vaccine after you’ve had COVID-19:
- A COVID-19 vaccine is currently the best way to protect yourself against future infection.
- It is not known how long your body’s natural immune system can protect you from getting infected again via natural immunity.
- According to the CDC, the risk of severe infection and death outweighs the benefits of natural immunity.
How to protect yourself from COVID vaccine myths
If you are getting frustrated and confused by the prominence of COVID vaccine myths, there are resources out there that can help. Government bodies such as the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) are constantly updating their websites with current information, as well as information combating myths. The College of Staten Island in NY has compiled a list of COVID-19 fact-checking websites. There are also a growing number of applications such as HealthGuard, which purport to flag questionable COVID-19 resources online.
And of course, you can always rely on your Complete Care community for facts and honest answers. Complete Care’s state-of-the-art emergency facilities are open 24/7 and our award-winning doctors are nurses on standby to help you through any medical emergency. Simply contact us at any of ER locations in both Texas (Austin, Corpus Christi, San Antonio, Dallas/Fort Worth, East Texas, and Lubbock) and Colorado (Colorado Springs).
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