There’s a lot of information out there about COVID-19, even more as we work our way through this pandemic. There’s also a lot of misinformation and partial truths that get in the way of effectively communicating what people should do to protect themselves and others.
From vaccines to masks, our MethodistHealth.org team takes on some of these myths and gives you the correct information, fact-checked by our experts.
MYTH: Other vaccines took years to be developed – there’s no way the COVID vaccine is safe because it was rushed.
FACT: COVID-19’s biological structure resembles other coronaviruses, including SARS and MERS. Scientific collaboration, including free sharing of the genetic sequence of SARS-CoV-2, allowed researchers to quickly establish vaccine platforms to fight the virus. Also, because of the imminent need for a vaccine, more resources were provided for research. The technology behind the vaccines has been in progress for decades. No steps were skipped in the development process.
MYTH: The messenger RNA technology used to make the COVID-19 vaccine is new and unproven.
FACT: The mRNA technology behind the new coronavirus vaccines has been in development for almost two decades. Vaccine makers created the technology to help them respond quickly to a new pandemic illness, such as COVID-19. In fact, mRNA vaccines have been studied for many other viruses, including influenza.
MYTH: COVID-19 vaccines contain or were produced with disputed substances.
FACT: The first two COVID-19 vaccines, Moderna and Pfizer, contain mRNA and other, normal vaccine ingredients, such as fats (which protect the mRNA), salts, as well as a small amount of sugar.
MYTH: The COVID-19 vaccine causes infertility
FACT: The COVID-19 vaccine does not cause infertility. Women who participated in clinical trials had children after being vaccinated. The myth began when a researcher said the vaccine may make women’s bodies reject a protein that’s connected to the placenta because it is somewhat like the spike protein in COVID-19. The thought was the vaccine would cause antibodies to also reject the placenta. This myth has been and continues to be disproven as more women of child-bearing age receive vaccines.
MYTH: If I’m pregnant or breastfeeding, I shouldn’t get vaccinated.
FACT: Contracting COVID-19 carries a much higher risk than getting vaccinated, but it is safe to get vaccinated during any stage of pregnancy or while breastfeeding. In fact, women receiving a vaccination during the third trimester can potentially pass along protective COVID-19 antibodies to the baby. Breastfeeding mothers who have received one of the mRNA vaccines also have antibodies in breastmilk, which could further protect their babies from COVID-19.
MYTH: Masks don’t work.
FACT: Face masks act as barriers to not only protect you but also protect others around you. The most important function of masks is to prevent or limit the transmission of the virus. It should cover the nose and mouth and fit snugly against the cheeks and nose if possible. Masks should be washed after each use. Masks aren’t foolproof, but they are proven effective at inhibiting transmission of COVID-19.
MYTH: The vaccines can lead to long-term effects.
FACT: Vaccine complications or side effects generally occur within the first few hours of receiving the vaccine. Many times, it occurs within the first 15-30 minutes. It’s also worth noting the mRNA vaccines use technology and science that began decades ago in treatments for other diseases like cancer and influenza. These vaccines have revealed no long-term side effects.
MYTH: It’s not necessary to get the second shot of the mRNA vaccines. I’m fully vaccinated after the first shot.
FACT: You must have two shots to receive the full benefit of the vaccine. The first shot helps your body create an immune response. The second dose boosts that response to strengthen your immune response to the virus.
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Get the facts about the vaccine at methodisthealth.org/yourshot