The vaccines are here and they are getting our country back to normal. But they only work if you get one. Still, hesitancy persists. Myths abound. Eduction – Mythbusters – can answer concerns to better understand the vaccines.
KNOW THE FACTS
The vaccines are safe.
Fact: The COVID-19 vaccines followed the same process all vaccines do and showed no major safety concerns in trials.
All vaccines go through rigorous safety testing, includng COVID vaccines that were developed quickly. The FDA sets rigorous safety standards for vaccines to meet before they are approved, which include four phases. Even though these vaccines were developed fast, they didn’t skip any steps in that process. Only the red tape was cut.
Neither the Pfizer nor Moderna vaccines showed any major safety concerns in their trials, and each one was monitored by an independent safety board. They do not carry the live virus, meaning you can’t catch COVID-19 from the vaccine. Most importantly, each vaccine showed about 95% efficacy at preventing mild and serious symptoms of COVID-19.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine went through similar trials. The blood clots reported with the J & J vaccine are very rare – occurring at a rate of about 7 per 1 million vaccinated women between 18 and 49 years old, but vaccinations of J&J were stopped while the blood clots were investigated. After reviewing the data, CDC and FDA recommended use of the J&J vaccine resume, given that the known and potential benefits outweigh the risks.
You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccines
Fact:The vaccines cannot give you the virus.
The Pfizer, and Moderna vaccines do not contain any live virus, weakened virus, dead virus or any infectious element, so there is no way for the vaccine to give you Covid-19. The best way to understand the mRNA vaccines is that they carry a set of instructions to teach your body’s immune system how to attack the coronavirus. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine uses a different technology to send similar instructions.
Vaccines do not threaten fertility.
Fact: The vaccine does not threaten women’s fertility or harm the placenta.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines cause our immune systems to make antibodies to something called a “spike” protein on the coronavirus. These antibodies cannot attack a similar protein, syncytin, that is made in the placenta during pregnancy.
Evidence from the clinical trials showed (set ital)no(end set ital) effect on fertility, and this is true for all available COVID vaccines. There is (set ital)no(end set ital) increased risk of infertility, pregnancy loss, stillbirth, or congenital abnormalities. This information comes from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, which recommends that anyone considering a future pregnancy should get vaccinated. The risks of COVID are far greater than the risks of vaccination.
We know COVID-19 causes long-term damage.
Fact: It can be a long road to recovery, and many COVID survivors are living with long-term effects.
Fatigue, shortness of breath, persistent loss of sense of smell, and damage to the heart, lungs, kidneys, and brain are just a few symptoms on a long and wide- ranging list of the lingering effects of COVID-19.
You still need the vaccine even if you had the virus.
Fact: Natural immunity doesn’t last forever, and you can catch COVID-19 again.
Although your body builds up natural immunity for a period after infection, researchers warn that you could get the virus again. The vaccine is the safest, fastest way to protect yourself and our loved ones.
We cannot achieve herd immunity by letting the virus spread in the community.
Fact: Herd immunity through natural infection is not possible. Vaccines are the best way to eliminate the virus.
Herd immunity occurs when enough people in a community contract and recover from a virus that they develop the natural immunity to protect them from the disease going forward. To reach herd immunity, about 80% of people have be immune to the disease. The only way to reach this number is through vaccination.
Kids can spread the virus.
Fact: Children can both catch and spread the virus.
While research is still being conducted, studies show that children catch and spread COVID-19 about half as much as adults — enough to contribute to community spread. That risk goes up as children get older, with high school students three times as likely as elementary students to catch the virus. To date, the U.S. has recorded more than 500,000 COVID-19 cases in schools.
You need the vaccine even if you live in rural areas.
Fact: Living in the country does not make you immune to COVID.
Living isolated with few neighbors and away from crowded areas does not make you safe from COVID. Even if you never had the flu or a flu shot you can get sick. When you or a family member run a simple errand to the grocery or pharmacy, attend church services or visit family you can be exposed to people who may unknowingly be carrying the virus.
Questions about the COVID vaccine? Talk to your doctor.
Chris Smith of Muncy was a prevention education/highway safety specialist for over 35 years and is a member of Let’s End COVID!
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