7 myths about the coronavirus vaccine that you should not believe

The rapid development and rapid approval of coronavirus vaccines have been truly remarkable. Never before had something like this happened, and from the doubts and mistrust of many people. Last December only a third of Spaniards said they were willing to get vaccinated.

With the campaign already underway, in some communities at a not exactly fast pace , some of those doubts have already been dispelled, although there are still myths to be banished.

The US edition of HuffPost has collected seven of the most widespread and banished them with the help of various experts.

These are the ideas to be banished.

Myth 1: vaccines have come too fast to be safe

The speed with which they have developed the coronavirus vaccine is unprecedented, but that does not mean that scientists have taken shortcuts or that it is less safe.

“The development of the vaccine has not been rushed,” says Linda Yancey, an expert in infectious diseases.

What has really happened is that, on the one hand, many of the bureaucratic obstacles that always slow down the process have been eliminated. And on the other hand, many laboratories have received sufficient funding to park all their projects and focus exclusively on this one.

“There are phases in the development of the vaccine that you cannot skip. You can’t rush into clinical trials and that’s why it took ‘so long’ to publish the results of phase 1 and phase 2, ”explains Yancey. “So we waited until the fall to move on to phase 3, and everything went really well.”

In addition, there are national and international agencies that monitor the distribution and administration of the vaccine at all times, not because they do not trust it, but as an added measure of security.

Myth 2: the vaccine causes Covid-19

Neither of the two vaccines that have reached Spain (that of Pfizer and that of Moderna) contain live viruses that can cause Covid-19. So it is not possible to contract the disease if there is no coronavirus.

This myth still haunts other vaccines, such as the flu . Many people refuse to get a flu vaccine because they think they are going to get it, but in reality, that vaccine only contains inactivated or “killed” viruses.

The symptoms that some people develop when receiving a vaccine, such as flu or Covid-19, even if they partially coincide with those of their respective diseases, are not the same. They are just the usual side effects of the body before any vaccine.

“What you are going to suffer is an immune response, so yes, your arm will hurt and you may even have a slight fever for a few days, but it is a good sign: it means that your body is reacting and you will be well protected later, ”Yancey says.

Myth 3: the vaccine can alter your DNA

Both vaccines are developed with messenger RNA. This technology trains the body’s cells to make harmless Spike proteins like those found on the surface of SARS-CoV-2. That produces an immune response that generates antibodies and protects against Covid-19.

This is not to say that it interacts with people’s DNA.

“One concern that I hear a lot is that this vaccine could affect DNA, and I understand that they make that association with RNA,” admits Nicole Iovine, chief of epidemiology at Florida University Hospital. “However, there are several reasons why something like this cannot happen.”

For starters, DNA is protected by a membrane that prevents it from being easily penetrated. Furthermore, “this RNA only penetrates to one of the outer layers of our cells, the cytoplasm, in no case does it reach the nucleus, so it does not have access to DNA.”

It should also be remembered that this messenger RNA does not stay in our cells for long, adds Iovine.

Myth 4: coronavirus vaccines cause infertility

That pregnant and lactating mothers appear in the group 14 of 15 of the population for vaccination does not mean that the vaccine is not safe for them. In fact, they appear on the list because the vaccine is recommended to them too. Simply, there are still no specific trials that have analyzed the effects of the vaccine in that population group, not because of a lack of confidence in this vaccine, but because this is how it is always done in all clinical trials with any vaccine prototype.

Experts also say that there is absolutely no indication that the vaccine causes infertility. This is a common lie from anti-vaccine activists, not just this one, Yancey says.

In fact, this vaccine is very important for mothers and their babies.

“One aspect that is being talked about very little is the potential benefits it would have on fetuses,” says Linda Eckert, an obstetrician-gynecologist and infectious disease expert. “It is expected that some antibodies reach the fetus through the umbilical cord and provide greater protection, and the same with breast milk.”

Myth 5: you don’t need to get vaccinated if you’ve already had the disease

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) dictate that those who have recovered from Covid-19 (and do not have health problems that prevent them from being vaccinated) should have access to the vaccine, even if reinfection is extremely rare. during the first five months .

This is because it is not yet clear how long acquired immunity lasts or how robust it is. On the other hand, there is evidence that the vaccine provides high protection.

“When you get vaccinated, your immune system will focus on responding to that external agent that is key in the coronavirus. That is why you generate such an intense immune response against the correct pathogen and that is why people who have had the disease can also benefit from this vaccine, ”Iovine explains.

Myth 6: by getting vaccinated, you can no longer transmit the disease

The two American coronavirus vaccines need two doses and a period in between to be fully effective: Pfizer’s requires 21 days between the two doses and Moderna’s 28. And even after the second dose, immunity is not immediate, so no one should lower their guard when receiving them.

Also, it is not yet clear whether vaccines prevent transmission. The only thing that is known for sure is that both are very effective in preventing the infected person from developing severe symptoms, so it is possible for a vaccinated person to contract the disease without symptoms and transmit it without realizing it. That is why it is so important to continue wearing a mask, washing our hands frequently and maintaining safety distances.

Myth 7: there are many cases of serious adverse effects

Cases of serious adverse effects have caused panic and run like wildfire on the internet, and not just among anti-vaccine drugs. However, the percentage of negative effects in relation to the number of vaccines administered is extremely low.

As of the end of December, the CDC counted 21 cases of serious allergic reactions out of a total of 1.8 million people who had received the Pfizer vaccine. That is why now some allergy sufferers have been warned of this possible danger.

“Once the cause has been identified, now the possibility of suffering a serious allergic reaction would be less than one in a million, while the possibility of dying from Covid-19 is 1 in 30, and the possibility of developing long-term sequelae, 1 in 10 ”.

As mentioned before, having mild symptoms after any vaccination is normal. If severe allergic reactions do occur, it is most likely within the first few minutes, when the patient is (or should be) still under observation.


by Abdullah Sam
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