COVID-19 Vaccines: Myths & Facts
The vast population is eager to get vaccinated as a first step towards controlling the spread of COVID-19 infection. Though there are a lot of misconceptions regarding the development, clinical trials, or side effects of the vaccines, it has become increasingly essential to separate these Myths from Facts.
The following Myths are discussed in detail in this blog
Myth 1: The vaccine for COVID-19 is not safe as it has developed so quickly.
Fact: The COVID-19 vaccines are authorized and have proven to be safe and effective. These vaccines have been developed by matching all the safety standards and have undergone the same rigorous Food and Drug Administration process as other vaccines. Even though these were developed at a specific time, yet no steps were skipped and the clinical trials and safety reviews for these took almost about the same time taken as other available vaccines.
Myth 2: One can get COVID-19 from the vaccine
Fact: One can never get COVID-19 from the vaccine as it does not contain the virus nor does it cause the body to produce the virus. Hence, there is no chance for a vaccinated person to spread the virus.
Myth 3: A person does not need to get vaccinated if he has already been diagnosed with COVID-19
Fact: According to WHO, people who were already infected with coronavirus should still get vaccinated unless told contrarily by their healthcare provider. Even if the person was infected earlier, this vaccine acts as a booster to strengthen the immunity which might have weakened due to the previous infection. This vaccination can also act as a barrier between the individual and the virus.
Myth 4: Once I get the vaccination for COVID-19, wearing a mask is no longer required.
Fact: Wearing a mask, sanitizing hands and maintaining physical distance will remain necessary in public until a sufficient number of people amongst the mass population are immune. A person who is vaccinated can meet with other vaccinated people without wearing a mask.
Myth 5: I will test COVID positive after I take the vaccine.
Fact: The tests that are used to diagnose COVID-19 require samples to be collected from the respiratory system to check for the presence of the virus. As there is no live virus nor is any such produced by the vaccine, it will not affect the test result. It may be possible for a person to get infected with the virus before the vaccine starts completely protecting the body.
Myth 6: The COVID-19 vaccine alters the DNA
Fact: Vaccines for COVID-19 do not change, alter or interact with the DNA in any way. These vaccines work along with the body’s natural defence system to safely develop immunity against the disease. The first vaccines which were permitted for emergency use,consist of a structured RNA which acts like a messenger (mRNA),and instructs the cells to form the spike protein that is seen in the second wave of COVID-19. When the immune system recognises this protein, it starts building an immune response by producing antibodies. This mRNA never enters the nucleus of the cell, where the DNA is present and the body gets rid of this mRNA as soon as it finishes the instructions.
Myth 7: The vaccine for COVID-19 has severe side effects, such as allergic reaction.
Fact: According to some participants involved in the vaccine clinical trials, some side effects were reported which were similar to those of other vaccines such as headache, body pains and chills. It is very rare for people to have a severe allergic reaction to the ingredients used in the vaccine.
Myth 8: If you’re on steroids you cannot get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Fact: Few studies suggest that using steroids in the days preceding or the following vaccination may reduce the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine. This is especially important for people who get steroid injections to relieve osteoarthritis pain. Though conclusive evidence is not yet available to recommend or oppose the use of steroids around COVID-19 vaccines. It is always best to ask the doctor when in doubt.
Myth 9: If you’re on blood thinners you cannot receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Fact: The COVID-19 vaccine is absolutely safe for people who take blood thinners. Blood thinners are classified into two types: antiplatelets and anticoagulants. The vaccine does not affect those taking antiplatelet medications such as aspirin, but those taking anticoagulants have a much higher risk of bleeding. This is also a relative contraindication, and the anticoagulant can be discontinued a day or two before the vaccine is administered. Only patients on extremely strong blood thinners, such as Acitrom or Warfarin, are ineligible for COVID vaccination.
Myth 10: Taking vaccination can result in death.
Fact: According to the reports released by the Union Health Ministry of India, such claims are false and vaccines cannot lead to deaths.
Myth 11: COVID-19 vaccination causes infertility in women
Fact: There is an amino acid sequence that is shared between the spike protein and the placental protein and according to reports, it’s too short to trigger the immune response and hence it does affect fertility in women.
Myth 12: Is It Safe to get vaccinated for COVID-19 while planning a baby?
Fact: Yes, women who are trying to conceive or are planning a baby can get a COVID-19 vaccine whichever is available. There are currently no recent studies that suggest that the Covid vaccination causes any problems in the pregnancy or during the development of the placenta. There is no evidence to prove that fertility problems are a side effect of any vaccine including COVID-19 vaccines and like other vaccines, research is still under process for the side effects for now and will continue for years.
Myth 13: Will the menstrual cycle get affected by being near to someone who got vaccinated for COVID-19?
Fact: No, menstrual cycles do not get affected by being near someone who got the Covid vaccination. Other factors can affect the menstrual cycle including stress, changes in schedule, lack of sleep, changes in diet and exercises and infections.
Myth 14: Taking COVID-19 vaccination can lead to sickness from other diseases.
Fact: There are no recent studies to suggest or prove that taking vaccination for COVID-19 can increase the risks of getting affected by other diseases or an infection such as flu.
Myth 15: People with comorbidities cannot receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Fact: Patients with comorbidities such as cancer, who are on chemotherapy, or patients with heart disease who are on blood pressure medication or heart medications are at a higher risk of COVID-19 infection, so they should be vaccinated soon. However, before taking the vaccine, consult your physician.
Myth 16: People with certain blood groups have low or moderate COVID-19 infection, so getting vaccinated is unnecessary
Fact: Based on recent studies, there is no proof that a certain blood type can lead to increased severity of COVID-19 and getting vaccinated can help not just the family but the community as well from the virus.
Myth 17: Taking a COVID-19 vaccine can make a person magnetic.
Fact: Taking the COVID-19 vaccination will not make a person magnetic including the site of the vaccination as vaccines do not contain any ingredient that can produce an electromagnetic field at the site of the injection. COVID-19 vaccines are free from metals like iron, cobalt, nickel, lithium and other rare earth alloys, nor do they have any manufactured products like microelectronics, electrodes, carbon nanotubes or any nanowire semiconductors. Moreover, a typical dose for the COVID-19 vaccine is less than a millilitre and is not enough for any magnet to get attracted to the vaccination site, even if the vaccine was filled with a magnetic metal.
- Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public: Mythbusters, WHO: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters
- Debunking COVID-19 (coronavirus) myths, Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/coronavirus-myths/art-20485720
- Causes and treatment of Covid-19: Myths vs Facts, Pubmed: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33583809/
- COVID-19 Myths You Shouldn’t Believe, WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/lung/ss/slideshow-covid-myths#:~:text=COVID%2D19%20Vaccine%20Illness,you%20sick%20with%20the%20disease.
- COVID-19 Vaccines: Myth Versus Fact, Johns Hopkins: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/covid-19-vaccines-myth-versus-fact
About Author –
Dr. Vighnesh Naidu Y, Consultant Physician, Yashoda Hospitals - Hyderabad
M.B.B.S, M.D. (Internal Medicine)