At the Olivet Boys and Girls Club Pendora site in Reading, Pennsylvania where the club was running a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in conjunction with The Forge and pharmacist Eric Esterbrook from the West Reading Drug Store giving doses of the Moderna vaccine Thursday afternoon April 1, 2021.
The misinformation isn’t surprising, says Jessica Malaty Rivera, MS, an infectious disease epidemiologist and the science communication lead at The COVID Tracking Project.
Myth: The COVID-19 vaccines aren’t safe because they were developed and tested too quickly.
Fact: Although Operation Warp Speed cut much of the bureaucratic red tape that often holds up proposals for a new vaccine, the process of testing the vaccines through clinical trials was no less rigorous.
For example, vaccine makers were authorized to conduct pre-clinical trials (which test the vaccine in animals) and phase one clinical trials (which test the vaccine in humans) at the same time, rather than one after another, to save time, Malaty Rivera notes.
“But I’m grateful it happened, it provided a continuous flow of financial resources to keep the research going.” Myth: The COVID-19 vaccines could give you COVID-19.
Fact: This is a relatively widely circulated falsehood, but there’s no evidence that COVID vaccines cause death, the CDC notes.
Myth: The COVID-19 vaccines could alter DNA.
The misconception may come from the fact that both the Modera and Pfizer vaccines contain messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA), genetic material our cells use to “read” proteins.
“That’s clearly not the case.” Myth: The COVID-19 vaccines can cause infertility or miscarriages.
Fact: No evidence has linked the vaccines to infertility and miscarriages, but fear-mongering misinformation campaigns continue to call the COVID vaccine “female sterilization.” “There is zero science to this claim,” Malaty Rivera says.
While it’s up to every individual to assess their own risk and comfort levels, Malaty Rivera says that the benefits of the vaccine seem to outweigh the risk of getting COVID-19 for pregnant people — who are more at risk for severe illness if they contract the virus.
Myth: The COVID-19 vaccines were developed using fetal tissue.
Fact: None of the vaccines contain aborted fetal cells or tissue, and no fetal tissue was used in the development or production of the vaccines.
Pfizer and Moderna used fetal cell lines in their vaccine testing, and Johnson & Johnson used them in development and production.
“But to prevent life-saving therapies and treatments for people because of one event seems actually morally more reprehensible to me.” Myth: You don’t need a vaccine if you’ve already had COVID-19 and recovered.
Fact: You should get one of the vaccines whether or not you’ve already contracted the virus.
The CDC gives two exceptions: If you’re currently COVID positive, you should wait to receive a vaccine until after you’ve quarantined and have recovered; and if you were treated for the virus with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait for 90 days post-treatment to get your jab
Myth: The COVID-19 vaccines are injected with a bar code or microchip to keep track of people
Plus, as of this writing, no COVID vaccines being used in the U.S
Myth: The Johnson & Johnson vaccine isn’t as effective as the other two vaccines
Fact: Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine has been shown to be 66% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 globally, and 72% effective at preventing moderate to severe COVID-19 in the U.S
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