MYTHS vs. FACTS: Combatting vaccine hesitancy
Thursday, May 27, 2021
This article has been reviewed by our chief medical consultant Dr. Charles Schutz. Source data for this article were gathered from the CDC and FDA.
Myths and misinformation campaigns around COVID-19 vaccines has caused hesitancy for some people in deciding whether or not to receive a vaccine.
Here are six common myths accompanied by facts to support that these outlandish claims don’t stand up to the publicly available science and data from our nation’s top experts and scientists.
Myth: I’ve already had COVID-19, so I don’t need the vaccine.
Fact: Even if you’ve had COVID-19, public health experts agree that you should still receive the vaccine as more research is needed to determine how long natural immunity lasts. In addition to new, emerging strains, COVID-19 infections can affect people differently, regardless of age or health profile. The benefits of receiving a vaccine far outweigh the risks of developing serious complications from a COVID-19 infection.
Myth: I’m a healthy person with no underlying health conditions; therefore, I don’t need the vaccine.
Anyone can contract COVID-19 and inadvertently transmit the virus to others. When you get vaccinated, you’re protecting those who are immunocompromised and unable to get the vaccine themselves. Additionally, getting a COVID-19 vaccine will also help you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19.
Myth: We don’t know the safety and long-term effects of the vaccines.
Fact: COVID-19 vaccines have undergone the most extensive safety monitoring campaigns in history. The CDC, ACIP, and FDA evaluated clinic trial data from thousands of participants from all backgrounds and waited several months after inoculation before determining the studies clearly showed the known and potential benefits outweighed the known and potential risks. Hundreds of millions of vaccine doses have been administered in the United States and serious adverse events have been very rare. The CDC and FDA continue to monitor vaccine safety and effectiveness using systems such as the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), v-safe, and BEST Initiative.
Myth: The vaccines will alter my DNA.
Fact: Neither mRNA (Pfizer and Moderna) or viral vector (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccines affect or alter DNA in any way. Both vaccines work by delivering instructions in the form of genetic material to our cells to start the process of building protection against the coronavirus. However, the genetic material never enters the nucleus of our cells, where DNA is stored.
Myth: The vaccines contain the COVID-19 virus and will get me sick.
Fact: None of the three vaccines approved and authorized for use contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. You cannot get sick or contract an infection from receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. You may develop symptoms such as fever or aches, which are signs your body is building natural immunity protection.
Myth: The vaccines are unsafe for pregnant women and cause fertility issues.
Fact: There is currently no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines cause any problems with pregnancy, including the development of the placenta. Additionally, there is no evidence of these vaccines or any vaccines in use in the United States that cause fertility problems as a side effect. The CDC has created a detailed breakdown of information, questions, and recommendations for people who are pregnant or want to get pregnant in the future.
For guidance about your individual health concerns related to the COVID-19 vaccines, please reach out to your primary care physicians.