Coronavirus vaccine myths busted by specialists

Jane Lee MD winces when she gets a Covid-19 shot in Weymouth, Massachusetts.

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Vaccine skepticism and a downright feeling against vaccination have been widespread in recent months, with an increasing number of members of the public questioning not only the effectiveness of vaccines, but also their development practices, safety standards and goals.

The rapid development of coronavirus vaccines over the past year, a pressing matter in the face of the destruction of lives and livelihoods caused by the global pandemic, has made them a prime target for hesitation and myth.

However, disinformation and misinformation that cast doubt on safety and effectiveness can put lives at risk.

The World Health Organization said vaccine reluctance was among the top ten global health threats in 2019. Vaccination “prevents 2-3 million deaths a year, and an additional 1.5 million could be avoided if global vaccination coverage were improved.”

When it comes to Covid-19 vaccines, experts and public health officials say it is critical to commit misinformation (incorrect or inaccurate information) and the more nefarious disinformation (i.e. incorrect information intended to mislead people) about the shocks currently being used fight . Here are some of the main myths floating around about coronavirus vaccines:

Myth: Covid-19 vaccines are unsafe because they were developed too quickly

Fact: The coronavirus vaccines currently in use have been subjected to rigorous and rigorous clinical trials after initial animal testing, involving thousands of human participants.

The vaccine manufacturers insisted that no corners were cut, and the test results showed that the vaccines are safe and effective. Prior to approval for use, vaccine trial data – such as those from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Oxford-AstraZeneca University – have been rigorously scrutinized by regulatory agencies such as the US Food and Drug Administration, the European Medicines Agency and the UK’s drug regulatory agency and health products.

In late-stage clinical trials, both Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were found to be 95% and 94.1% effective, respectively, at preventing severe Covid-19 infection. The vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca had an average effectiveness of 70%.

When the UK became the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine in early December, Dr. June Raine, UK MHRA chief executive officer, said there had been no compromise on approval, saying experts worked “around the clock” carefully and methodically observing tables, analysis and graphs for each individual element of data. ”

MHRA scientists and clinicians performed an “ongoing review” of data provided during clinical trials to expedite vaccine evaluation and approval. This is critical, the MHRA said in view of the public health emergency.

Chinese healthcare workers and volunteers wear protective clothing when registering people to be given a Covid-19 vaccination sting at a mass vaccination center for the Chaoyang District in Beijing, China, Jan. 15, 2021.

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Myth: Coronavirus vaccines change DNA

Fact: The coronavirus vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna contain messenger RNA (or mRNA), which instructs our cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response. This will boost immunity to the virus that causes Covid-19.

The mRNA (i.e., the instructions) from a Covid-19 vaccine never makes it into the nucleus where our DNA is stored, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“This means that the mRNA cannot affect or interact with our DNA in any way. Instead, Covid-19 mRNA vaccines work with the body’s natural defense mechanisms to develop safe immunity against disease.” In addition, immune cells are broken down and the mRNA is removed soon after the instructions are completed. Further information on the CDC can be found here.

Myth: Coronavirus vaccines affect fertility

Fact: Some women fear that the coronavirus vaccine could affect their fertility and there has been a lot of misinformation about it online. In fact, Britain’s Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Royal College of Midwives issued a statement on Tuesday on Covid-19 vaccinations, fertility and pregnancy.

In it, Dr. Edward Morris, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: “We want to reassure women that there is no evidence that Covid-19 vaccines affect fertility. Claims of effects of Covid-19 vaccines against fertility are and will be speculative not supported by any data. “

He continued, “There is no biologically plausible mechanism by which current vaccines could affect fertility in women. No evidence has been presented that vaccinated women continue to have fertility problems.”

A woman is vaccinated with the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine.

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Myth: The vaccine is unsafe for me because I am pregnant

Fact: The truth is that there is limited data on the safety of Covid-19 vaccines for pregnant people, according to the CDC on its website.

Of the data available from animal studies, “no safety concerns have been demonstrated in rats given Moderna COVID-19 vaccine before or during pregnancy; studies of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine are ongoing,” the CDC said.

Studies in pregnant people are planned, and both vaccine manufacturers are monitoring people who have become pregnant in the clinical studies.

In the UK, where AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines are currently in use, the government states: “The vaccines have not yet been tested in pregnancy. Until further information is available, pregnant women should not routinely receive this vaccine.”

However, the government notes that evidence from non-clinical studies of both Pfizer-BioNTech and University of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines has been reviewed by WHO and regulators around the world and has “no concerns” about safety in pregnancy have expressed.

The UK Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization, which advises the government on its vaccination strategy, “recognizes that the potential benefits of vaccination are particularly important for some pregnant women”, including those at very high risk of infection or those with clinical infection Conditions that are at high risk of serious complications from Covid-19. In these cases, the government recommends that women discuss possible vaccinations with their doctor.

Traders work on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

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Myth: If you’ve had the vaccine, you don’t have to wear a mask

Fact: Even if you are immunized against Covid-19, it is possible that you still pass the virus on to others. We still don’t know how vaccination against Covid-19 will affect transmission, and until we do – and although many people are not vaccinated – people will be told to follow social distancing guidelines to wear masks and washing hands to prevent the possible transmission of the virus.

Myth: I don’t need the vaccine because I already had Covid-19

A trained nurse takes care of a Covid-19 patient in the intensive care unit at St. Mary Medical Center in Providence, St. Mary, in Apple Valley, California on January 11, 2021.

Ariana Drehsler | AFP | Getty Images

Myth: You can get Covid-19 from the vaccine

Fact: You cannot get Covid-19 from the Pfizer BioNTech or Moderna coronavirus vaccines as they do not contain a live virus. Meanwhile, Oxford University’s Vaccine Knowledge Project explains that the active ingredient in the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine “is made from a modified adenovirus that causes colds in chimpanzees. This virus has been modified so that it cannot cause infection. It is used to provide the genetic code for the coronavirus spike protein. “

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