With the new COVID vaccine officially making its way around the country, many are questioning the rapidness with which it was developed and tested. Because there have been so many unknowns involved in this pandemic, Americans are anxious about side effects and just how much protection this vaccine offers. You may find differing opinions, depending on which news channel you tune into as well as which politicians and other role models you look to for guidance. That is why we have gathered some of the top myths associated with the new vaccine, in hopes that we can set the record straight on some of the biggest questions once and for all.
Myth #1: The vaccine isn’t safe.
Fact: The safety of the COVID vaccine has always been a top priority. As with anything new, there are skeptics, but our government’s top officials have done everything they can to ensure that the vaccines they are administering are indeed safe. The rapid rate at which the pandemic spread around both our country and our world made creating a vaccine urgent. This doesn’t mean that science went out the window, however. Robust guidelines exist to ensure the safety of any vaccine put forth from a pharmaceutical company. The Centers for Disease Control has specific guidelines in place to keep Americans safe.
Myth #2: The vaccine has severe side effects.
Fact: The COVID vaccine, like many vaccines currently in circulation, has short-term mild to moderate side effects that are in line with expectations and quickly resolve without complication. Furthermore, the long-term effects of contracting COVID-19 are still unknown, and it has proven to be a disease with devastating consequences in some cases. About 15% of people undergoing testing for the COVID vaccine experienced short-lived symptoms. Half experienced a headache, fever or muscle pain lasting one to two days. A vaccine is a much safer way to build protection than the virus itself.
Myth #3: I don’t have to wear a mask or socially distance once I get the vaccine.
Fact: At this writing, the vaccine is on target to be administered to the general public as soon as possible and into the summertime. It may take until fall to build what is known as “herd immunity.” Not only that, but two doses of the vaccine are required, meaning you will not be automatically immune after one shot. Only time will tell us how long it takes to build immunity once you get the vaccine and how long that immunity will last. Because there are still so many unknowns, we all must continue to wear masks, socially distance and wash hands frequently in order to protect both ourselves and those at highest risk of severe complications from COVID-19. Once we see official numbers of COVID cases decline, we will be on track to finding our new normal as a country.
Myth #4: I already contracted COVID and recovered, so I don’t need to get the vaccine.
Fact: Not much is known about how immunity to COVID works. We know that, like many viruses, those who contract it will have antibodies in their system that will help defend against another infection. What we don’t know, however, is how long this immunity will last and if new mutations of the virus will be affected. What we do know is that those with a current or recent case of COVID should wait to get the vaccine. However, those who contracted the virus months ago may need the vaccine to have continued immunity.
There are many more myths and rumors floating around, which is to be expected when there are so many unknowns. However, by following updates from reliable news sources, you can ensure that you stay up to date with scientific findings. If you’re unsure about your eligibility for the vaccine or you have other questions, contact your healthcare provider.