With so much information available about the COVID-19 vaccine, it’s hard to know what information is based on fact and what is actually a misconception. Dr. Sandra Kesh, infectious disease specialist and deputy medical director at Westmed is here to debunk some common myths about the COVID-19 vaccine.
MYTH: The vaccine will give you coronavirus.
FACT: The vaccine does NOT cause COVID-19 infection. A small number of people may have an asymptomatic infection at the time they undergo vaccination, but this is not caused by the vaccine. Normal vaccine reactions (fever, aches, fatigue) are common in the first few days after each dose, but cough, breathing difficulties, and loss of smell or taste are indications that you may have had a pre-existing infection. In these cases, contact your provider.
MYTH: The vaccine causes infertility.
FACT: There is no evidence that the vaccine causes infertility. We do know pregnant women who become infected with the virus can have more severe infection and poor pregnancy outcomes (like stillbirth, preterm delivery). It is important for women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant to discuss the risks/benefits of vaccination with their provider.
MYTH: The vaccine changes your DNA.
FACT: The genetic material in the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine does NOT affect your DNA in any way. In fact, the mRNA in these vaccines does not even reach the nucleus of your cells (where your DNA is located), and is rapidly degraded shortly after entering the cell.
MYTH: The vaccine is not safe and hasn’t been tested as well as other vaccines.
FACT: The COVID-19 vaccines were rigorously tested for safety before being granted emergency use authorization by the FDA. Additionally, the mRNA technology used in these vaccines has been studied for over a decade.
MYTH: As soon as I get the vaccine I can stop wearing my mask and social distancing.
FACT: Until enough people have received the vaccine, we must continue to follow all guidelines on mask use and social distancing. It remains unknown whether the vaccine prevents transmission of the virus to others.
As with all vaccines, there are a small percentage of people (less than 5 percent) who may not be completely protected. In order to help protect them, we will need to continue taking precautions such as wearing masks and social distancing. Lastly, until enough people are vaccinated, it will be important to use these precautions until the COVID-19 virus is much less prevalent in the community.
Don’t forget to keep doing your part to beat this pandemic. Dr. Kesh reminds us, “It’s important for us all to do everything we can to end this pandemic- this includes social distancing, wearing masks, frequent hand washing and getting the vaccine.”