There’s talk in the media regarding the efficacy and safety of COVID-19 vaccines. There’s a misperception that the development time for these vaccines was unprecedently fast, making some of us hesitant to get vaccinated.
However, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of March 26th, more than 133 million doses of the vaccine have been administered, which accounts for approximately 14%, or 47 million, of the US population being vaccinated.
The spread of COVID-19 must be stemmed, and the pandemic ended, which is why we’re debunking myths and explaining the facts on what it means to be vaccinated.
- True or False: COVID-19 vaccines were developed too quickly without proper testing.
False. The FDA has rigorous standards for the testing for vaccines, including COVID-19. Clinical trials collected data from more than 40,000 participants over the course of three phases.
Studies conducted by Pfizer and BioNTech showed that there was over 90% efficacy rate with the current vaccine. This means that when vaccinated, less than 10% of participants were infected with COVID-19.
A two-dose regimen conferred 95% protection against Covid-19 in persons 16 years of age or older.
Each clinical trial phase focused on specific aspects of the vaccines, including efficacy, safety, immune response, side effects, and risks. Subjects were selected from different demographic groups, including varying health statuses, and tested in randomized-controlled studies.
The COVID-19 vaccines were created using new mRNA technology, which has been in development for decades. Scientists have been working with the RNA sequence since it was released over a year ago.
Shortcuts were not taken to develop these vaccines as the process was similar to the development of previously developed vaccines.
2. True or False: If I’m healthy, I don’t need to be vaccinated.
False. The unpredictability of a COVID infection, even in the young and healthy, warrants vaccination. There’s no way to determine how your body will respond to the virus, making it essential that you get vaccinated.
There are minor side effects of COVID-19 vaccines, but they are minimal compared to actual COVID-19 infection. According to World Health Organization, vaccination side effects include:
- Body Aches
3. True or False: I can get COVID-19 from a vaccine.
False. The discomfort that you feel is your body forming the antibodies it needs to fight a COVID-19 infection. The vaccine doesn’t contain a live virus, so you can’t get COVID-19 from getting vaccinated. Also, it will not change your DNA.
A good way to demystify the COVID-19 vaccine is to understand how it works.
4. How does the vaccine work?
The mRNA in the vaccine teaches your cells how to make copies of the spike protein. If you are exposed to the real virus later, your body will recognize it and know how to fight it off.
The vaccine DOES NOT contain ANY virus, so it cannot give you COVID-19. It cannot change your DNA in any way.
After the mRNA delivers the instructions, your cells break it down and get rid of it.
Click on the image to review the explanation provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
5. True or False: If I’ve had COVID, I don’t need to be vaccinated.
False. To have substantial protection from COVID-19, you need to be vaccinated. The antibodies formed by your body in response to a COVID-19 vaccine are more predictable and effective than those formed in response to actual COVID-19 infection.
6. If I’ve been vaccinated, I don’t have to wear a mask.
False. The vaccination process regarding COVID-19 and immunity is ongoing. For now, the CDC advises that fully vaccinated people continue to wear masks and social distance when in public or visiting unvaccinated people from multiple households.
However, if you have been fully vaccinated, you can gather indoors with those who have been vaccinated or unvaccinated people from one other household who do not reside with anyone at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
There are a number of reasons why it’s still medically advisable to continue to wear a mask:
- It takes 2 weeks after receiving the second dose of the mRNA vaccine to reach a 95% effectiveness rate.
- Vaccines offer a 95% effectiveness rate, and there’s no way of knowing who will not respond to the vaccine.
- The vaccines are 95% effective in preventing infection, but at the moment we don’t know how effective they are in controlling the transmission of the virus from asymptomatic spreaders (people with the virus who do not show symptoms).
- As a community, we still need to protect those with compromised immunity and those who can’t be vaccinated.
- There are limited doses of vaccine available at the moment, making it impossible to vaccinate all 330 million Americans.
If you have reservations about getting the vaccine, talk to your doctor. Your health status will determine if you’re a candidate for a COVID-19 vaccine.
It’s still crucial that we work together to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. These vaccines are just another tool at our disposal to keep us all healthy, ending this pandemic once and for all.
The research is ongoing regarding the variants of the virus found in the UK, South Africa, and Brazil, so it’s important to keep loved ones safe by continuing safety efforts, like mask-wearing, social distancing, and handwashing.