Covid-19 Vaccine: Eliminating Misinformation
Despite evidence showing the effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccine at protecting people from hospital admissions and deaths from Covid infection, there is still a lot of misinformation surrounding Covid-19 and the Covid-19 Vaccine. Here we address some common myths surrounding vaccination.
Fiction: The COVID-19 Vaccine affects fertility
Fact: The COVID-19 vaccine will not affect fertility. During the Pfizer vaccine tests, 23 women volunteers involved in the study became pregnant, and the only one who suffered a pregnancy loss had not received the actual vaccine, but a placebo. On the other hand, not being vaccinated can pose a risk to a healthy pregnancy. There is an increased risk of hospitalization and death in pregnant persons who are unvaccinated and contract Covid-19. This risk also extends to the postpartum period. Additionally, there is a risk to the unborn baby as well. Having COVID-19 during pregnancy increases the risk of delivering a preterm (earlier than 37 weeks) or having a stillborn infant.
Fiction: My unvaccinated friend had Covid-19 and was fine, so I will be too.
Fact: Certain populations are more vulnerable to severe consequences from infection with the Covid-19 virus. The risk of being hospitalized, requiring a ventilator and even dying is more common in high risk groups. These groups include people who are older, people with chronic illnesses, The number of deaths among people over the age of 65 is ninety-seven times greater than the number of deaths in people who are 18 to 29 years old (3). BIPOC and Hispanic communities are also more adversely affected by the Covid-19 virus as well as those individuals who have chronic illnesses like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, diseases that make someone immunocompromised, obesity, pregnancy, and sickle cell disease. Vaccination is particularly important in at risk populations.
Fiction: If you get Covid-19, you do not need the vaccine.
Fact: Having Covid does protect you from future infection in the same robus way that the COVID-19 vaccine does. Being fully vaccinated against Covid-19 is the best protection against the disease. A study done in 2021 showed that in people persons who have had SARS-CoV-2 infection, being fully vaccinated gives additional protection against future reinfection. Therefore, even if you have been previously infected with Covid your risk of getting reinfected is more than two times higher than for those who were infected and got vaccinated.
Fiction: The side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine are dangerous and worse than Covid-19
Related: Pregnancy Vaccines
Fact: The mRNA vaccines, made by Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, are very safe and have limited side effect profiles. Some of the side effects include pain at the injection site, fever, headache, and body aches. These side effects typically do not last longer than one or two days. If you are concerned about an allergic reaction to the vaccine, be sure to keep an EpiPen that can help to combat a serious allergic reaction to the vaccine. There has been concern with the Jansenn (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine because there were reported cases of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome and Guillain-Barré syndrome after getting the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. Although it was safely administered to the vast majority of people, the CDC stated in December of 2021 that the two mRNA vaccines were preferred (4).
Fiction: The COVID-19 vaccine changes your DNA.
Fact: The mRNA vaccines do not change your DNA. Although the messenger RNA from Pfizer and Moderna vaccines do enter cells, they do not enter the nucleus of the cells which is where a cell’s DNA lives (5).
Covid-19 Vaccine Take Home Points
Covid-19 has killed millions of people and vaccinations with an mRNA vaccine is one of the best ways to stay healthy. Everyone, and especially at risk populations, should strongly consider becoming fully vaccinated against Covid-19.