Author: Debasmita Kanungo , Tags: #Myths,#Vaccination,#Samagracare,
The Coronavirus pandemic launched itself in India and internationally in the early months of 2020. Some countries experienced a harsh first wave with incredibly high numbers of cases, while others, like India, experienced a devastating second wave, with one of the highest death rates in the world, next to the United States.
To combat COVID-19 and the widespread virus, many biomedical and pharmaceutical companies have developed vaccinations. Although these vaccines don’t guarantee not getting covid-19, they significantly reduce the chances of getting infected with the virus and infecting other people. These vaccinations also tend to make the cases less life-threatening. The death rate in the U.S has experienced a severe decrease since introducing the vaccines into their population. According to state numbers, the death count went from 2,629 (7-day average) to 676 (7-day average), with 40.7% of the population fully vaccinated.
As we have known from history, where there is vaccination, there is misinformation. An example would be the initial correlation of the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (MMR) and an increasing number of individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum disorder (ASD). As per usual, the COVID vaccinations and their developments have been plagued with misinformation. Therefore, it is vital to iron out the myths and bring forth facts surrounding the topic.
It is one's social, moral, and ethical responsibility to get vaccinated, so as to help control the spread of COVID-19. (Image Courtesy: Hindustan Times)
Myth 1: I don’t have to get the Vaccine.
One of the most common myths surrounding the Covid Vaccine is that the Vaccine is not necessary for everyone. Many individuals think that depending on the blood type, getting vaccinated against the virus is not required. But that is entirely false. There has been no proven research supporting the idea that certain blood types or even specific individuals cannot contract the virus.
One must continue to wear a mask even after getting one or both doses of the vaccine. (Image Courtesy: Hindustan Times)
Myth 2: I don’t need to wear a mask after getting vaccinated.
Many people also believe that once they are vaccinated, they no longer need to wear a mask. That is certainly untrue. Wearing masks, regularly sanitising or handwashing and social distancing needs to continue in all public atmospheres until most of the population or a sufficient number of people have been vaccinated. Especially if individuals are attending gatherings indoors, wearing masks will help prevent the virus from being transmitted to other people who have not been vaccinated. It is not known that the vaccine will prevent individuals from contracting the virus; it just makes the individual less prone to a life-threatening case when infected.
Myth 3: These vaccines are too quickly developed to be safe.
Some people are under the impression that the vaccine is unsafe because of its quick development. Yes, it usually takes a vaccine a couple of years to be fully accessible to the general population and the development of the covid-19 vaccine was much faster, but that does not make it unsafe. Even with the rapid development that the vaccine has gone through, the process has been tedious and rigorous, with a meticulous Food and Drug Administration process as other vaccines, making sure that all standards have been met. In addition, because of the worldwide collaboration of scientists and doctors, the function has been checked and doubled checked over and over by multiple panels, with clinical trials and safety reviews taking the same time as previous vaccines. Also, the technology used to develop the vaccine is not new, it has been used for cancer research for years, and the mRNA research is decades old.
Myth 4: I don’t need to get vaccinated if I’ve had COVID before.
Another common misconception is that individuals that have had covid-19 before do not need to get vaccinated. That is not true! At this point, researchers and scientists have not yet discovered the period that an individual is protected from getting infected once they have already had the virus. The immunity that an individual gains from having covid-19 vary from person to person. Researchers suggest getting vaccinated even if an individual has already had the virus at some point, as the immunity will not last very long.
Myth 5: I’ll get COVID-19 from the vaccine.
Furthermore, the belief that taking the vaccine will automatically cause an individual to test positive for the coronavirus is also false. However, someone can get infected with the virus between the first and second doses or before the vaccine has had enough time to create a protectant for the body thoroughly. The vaccine does not have live viruses, and therefore, they will not affect whether or not someone will test positive. Consequently, an individual will not test positive right after getting vaccinated.
The vaccines do not alter DNA under any circumstances as they are mRNA based vaccinations. (Image Courtesy: Encyclopedia Britannica)
Myth 6: The COVID Vaccine will alter my DNA.
On the same lines, some of the population speculate that the vaccine will alter their DNA. That is not possible. Let’s go back into a ninth-grade quick science lesson. Your DNA is in the nucleus. The covid vaccine contains mRNA. The mRNA that the vaccine uses does its work in the cytoplasm. The virus spike protein is created when the messenger RNA or the mRNA instructs the body. When the immune system recognises this protein, it builds antibodies to create an immune response. Once the instructions have been given, and the virus spike protein is also rapidly broken down, the body gets rid of the mRNA. This immune response teaches the body to protect itself from similar future infections.
The Covid-19 vaccinations have not proven to affect fertility rate, despite alleged rumours and concerns. (Image Courtesy: Henry Ford Livewell)
Myth 7: Getting vaccinated could make me infertile.
Regrading similar issues, many believe that the vaccine will affect fertility in women. That is not the case. Although it can impact a mother’s health, no research or evidence proves that getting vaccinated affects fertility in women. This concern arose among many due to the spread of misinformation through social media that claimed that the spike protein induced in the covid vaccine is also the same as syncytin-1.
This spike protein is necessary for the growth and development of a placenta in the human body during pregnancy, which means that the vaccine will fight against this spike protein too. This is not true. These two spike proteins are very different from each other. Additionally, to present proof, out of the 23 women volunteers that participated in the Pfizer study became pregnant, and the only one who experienced a loss was the one that was given a placebo.
Myth 8:Vaccines have tracking devices.
The last piece of misinformation that has been making the rounds regarding covid-19 is that the vaccine contains some kind of tracking device. This is as absurd as it sounds and is not true at all. This rumour began as an individual falsely claimed through a shared Facebook video that vaccines injected a microchip into an individual as they got it. That is a bold rumour. There are no electronic components to this vaccine. The only electronic component of the vaccine is optional and is used to declare the dose’s origin for confirmation of its production efficiency.
Myth 9: Getting a vaccination could give me a fatal blood clot.
Something to bear in mind that is vital to remember is that all the Covid-19 vaccines available are safe, effective and reduce the risk of severe illnesses. Therefore, it is imperative to get vaccinated with the most readily available one even when some efficacy rates of vaccines may objectively be higher than others. Additionally, although some blood clots after Covishield are possible, they are rare and should not discourage anyone from getting vaccinated.
The general public must get vaccinated as soon as possible, more now than ever before, as the cases in India rise exponentially. Without a sufficient number of individuals having been vaccinated, society will not be able to open and economic and social conditions will continue to worsen, so if you can get vaccinated, do it as soon as possible. It is essential to get vaccinated not just for your safety but for the safety and protection of others too.
Listed below are a set of links to helpful tools regarding the Covid-19 vaccine:
- https://www.cowin.gov.in/home - Vaccine registration
- https://www.mohfw.gov.in/covid_vaccination/vaccination/faqs.html - Covishield FAQ
- https://www.bharatbiotech.com/images/covaxin/covaxin-fact-sheet.pdf - Covaxin FAQ
Featured Image Courtesy: Navduniya