As the Covid-19 pandemic has continued around the world, the brightest hope for ending the pandemic has been the vaccines being developed and administered.
People have been sharing a lot of claims and misinformation, and this may make you wonder as to whether or not these Covid-19 vaccines are safe and effective.
Below are the top myths and facts about Covid-19 vaccines:
Fact: Many pharmaceutical companies invested significant resources into quickly developing a vaccine for Covid-19 because of the worldwide effects of the pandemic.
The emergency situation warranted an emergency response, but that doesn’t mean that companies bypassed safety protocols or performed inadequate testing.
Mayo Clinic recommends the use of vaccines that we are confident are safe.
While there are many Covid-19 vaccine candidates in development, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is the first authorised for emergency use by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
This vaccine was created using new technology based on the molecular structure of the virus that allows it to be free from materials of animal origin and synthesised by an efficient, cell-free process without preservatives.
This vaccine has been studied in approximately 43,000 people.
To receive US FDA emergency use authorisation, the biopharmaceutical manufacturer must have followed at least half of the study participants for at least two months after completing the vaccination series, and the vaccine must be proven safe and effective in that population.
In addition to the safety review by the US FDA, the US Advisory Committee on Immunization has convened a panel of experts to independently evaluate the safety data from the clinical trial.
Mayo Clinic vaccine experts will also review the available data.
The safety of Covid-19 vaccines will continue to be closely monitored by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the US FDA.
Fact: There is not enough information currently available to say if, or for how long, after infection someone is protected from getting Covid-19 again. This is called natural immunity.
Early evidence suggests natural immunity from Covid-19 may not last very long, but more studies are needed.
Mayo Clinic recommends getting the vaccine even if you’ve had Covid-19 previously.
However, those who have had the disease recently should delay vaccination until about 90 days from diagnosis.
People should not get vaccinated if in quarantine after exposure or if they have Covid-19 symptoms.
Fact: The Covid-19 vaccines have been shown to have short-term mild or moderate vaccine reactions that resolve without complication or injury.
The early phase studies of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine show that it is safe.
About 15% of people developed short-lived symptoms at the site of the injection.
Half developed systemic reactions – primarily, headache, chills, fatigue or muscle pain or fever lasting a day or two.
Keep in mind that these side effects indicate that your immune system is responding to the vaccine and are common when receiving vaccines.
Fact: It may take time for everyone who wants a Covid-19 vaccination to get one.
Also, while the vaccine may prevent you from getting sick, it is unknown at this time if you can still carry and transmit the virus to others after vaccination.
Until more is understood about how well the vaccine works, continuing with precautions such as mask-wearing, physical distancing and washing hands frequently will be important.
Fact: There is a claim circulating on social media that Covid-19’s mortality rate is 1-2% and that people should not be vaccinated against a virus with such a high survival rate.
However, a 1% mortality rate is 10 times more lethal than the seasonal flu.
In addition, mortality rates can vary widely and are influenced by age, sex and underlying health conditions.
While some people that receive the vaccine may develop symptoms as their immune system responds, remember that this is a common reaction when receiving any vaccine and these symptoms are not considered serious or life-threatening.
You cannot get Covid-19 from the Covid-19 vaccines – they are inactivated vaccines, not live vaccines.
It’s important to recognise that getting vaccinated for Covid-19 is not just about survival from the disease.
It’s about preventing spread of the virus to others and preventing infection that can lead to long-term negative health effects.
While no vaccine is 100% effective, they are far better than not getting vaccinated.
The benefits outweigh the risks in healthy people.
Fact: There is no vaccine “microchip”, and the vaccine will not track people or gather personal information into a database.
This myth started after comments made by Bill Gates from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation about a digital certificate of vaccine records.
The technology he was referencing is not a microchip, has not been implemented in any manner, and is not tied to the development, testing or distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Fact: The first Covid-19 vaccines to reach the market are likely to be messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines.
According to the US CDC, mRNA vaccines work by instructing cells in the body how to make a protein that triggers an immune response.
Injecting mRNA into your body will not interact or do anything to the DNA of your cells.
Human cells break down and get rid of the mRNA soon after they have finished using the instructions.
Fact: Current mRNA Covid-19 vaccines were not created with, and do not require the use of, foetal cell cultures in the production process. – Mayo Clinic News Network/Tribune News Service