The COVID-19 pandemic has had a direct impact on all of our lives over the past year.
There have been many precautionary methods used to slow the spread of this deadly virus, such as wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and frequent hand-washing. However, these vaccines will be vital tools to help reduce the risk of becoming infected, as well as reducing fatalities if contracted.
“The vaccine is our most important preventative step to protect ourselves, co-workers, friends, and loved ones from COVID-19,” said Dr. Theodore Ross, chief medical officer and internal medicine physician at SIHF Healthcare.
As with any new vaccine, there are many questions and concerns.
“The vaccine is safe — numerous studies on tens of thousands of people, and millions have already received it without adverse reactions,” Ross said.
What we know:
- All COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States have been shown to be highly effective at preventing serious infection.
- All COVID-19 vaccines that are in development are being carefully evaluated in clinical trials and will be authorized or approved only if they make it substantially less likely you’ll get COVID-19.
- Based on what is known about vaccines for other diseases and early data from clinical trials, experts believe getting a COVID-19 vaccine may also help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19.
- Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you.
Fact or fiction
The vaccine has been rushed, so it cannot be safe. Fiction.
While the timeline from the start of the pandemic to the approval of the vaccine has been faster than any other vaccine, the technology has been in development for many years. When mRNA vaccines were developed (the technology behind Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines), the technology was touted as a quick and efficient method to produce vaccines at unprecedented speed, and this proved true for COVID-19. Pfizer and Moderna have been working in this space for many years, and it was because of their strong foundation in this technology that they were able to generate a vaccine in less than a year.
There has not been enough testing. Fiction.
The COVID-19 vaccines, like all drugs that are approved for human use, undergo significant scrutiny from various independent evaluators to ensure efficacy and safety during the clinical trials, and then by the FDA for approval. After FDA approval, safety and efficacy continue to be monitored for adverse events. Some of the COVID-19 vaccines being tested in clinical trials were halted because of a serious illness in a few subjects; however, the illnesses were not associated with the vaccine.
There is an advantage to having multiple vaccines, not just one that works. Fact.
While one vaccine is a significant achievement, it is critical that multiple vaccines, based on different technologies, are approved for use. There are several reasons for this. The number of doses necessary to immunize the whole United States and the entire world is not practical using one vaccine, given the different reagents necessary to produce the vaccines. Approval of multiple effective vaccines will reduce the burden on a single manufacturer to ensure that everyone across the world can have access to a vaccine in a timely manner.
We do not know anything about the side effects. Fiction.
Each of the clinical trials were conducted with more than 30,000 people from around the world, and all subjects are monitored for side effects. Half of the subjects in the clinical trial received placebo and half received the vaccine. In general, subjects reported soreness and swelling at the injection site, as well as fever, chills, tiredness and headache, which should go away after a few days. This is exactly what you want to happen because it means your immune system is active and doing its job.
COVID-19 will eventually go away on its own. Fiction.
It is unlikely that COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) will go away on its own. Just like the common cold — also a coronavirus — it continues to make us sick every year, but as we age and continue to be exposed, we generate an immune response that prevents us from getting sick. The vaccine helps to accelerate this process to protect us. However, we are only a year into this pandemic, and scientists will continue to monitor how many people are infected each year.
Receiving an mRNA vaccine will not affect your DNA/genetics. Fact.
The mRNA vaccine has no way to get into your DNA but can still induce a strong immune response. It does so by causing cells to generate pieces of the virus for immune systems to respond to. Once the mRNA is used by cells, it is destroyed and has no long-term effects on cells.
For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine and SIHF Healthcare's services, click here.