COVID-19 that started as an epidemic in Wuhan, turned into a pandemic within a span of a few months. Eventually, the process of vaccine production kicked in, with currently over 10 vaccines being manufactured in bulk across the globe. The first batch of approvals vaccinations for emergency use began in the latter half of December 2020. In India, Covishield and Covaxin are currently being administered in different phases.
With the vaccination drive underway, it is important to dispel any myths about vaccines circulating in India. Lack of proper understanding and lack of exposure to the science behind the functioning of a vaccine can prove harmful to the many individuals who are withholding themselves from getting vaccinated. At the same time, it is essential to educate oneself about these vaccines from the right sources.
You must consult with your nearest doctor about the vaccine and check if you are allergic to any ingredients of the vaccine.
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Common vaccine myths
Some of the common COVID-19 vaccine myths include:
- Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine is not safe if I plan to get pregnant in the near future.
Truth: It is completely safe to be vaccinated if you plan to get pregnant in the future or are trying now. The COVID-19 vaccines have been proven to be safe and efficient and, there is no scientific evidence that suggests any problems with pregnancy post-COVID-19 vaccination. In addition to this, no fertility problems have been detected either. Scientists worldwide are currently studying and will continue to study the vaccine’s side effects in the coming years.
- Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine will alter my DNA.
Truth: Two of the major types of vaccines currently being administered include the mRNA vaccines and the viral vector vaccines. These vaccines have been designed to carry instructions to the cells to build protection. The vaccine does not enter the cell’s nucleus where our DNA resides, thereby preventing lack of interaction between the two. Therefore, it can be established that the COVID-19 vaccines are configured to build up the body’s defense system and not interefee with our genetic makeup.
- Myth: Post-vaccination, I would test positive for a COVID-19 test.
Truth: None of the vaccines approved for vaccination would result in testing you positive for any of the COVID tests. This also applies to any vaccination undergoing clinical trials. Nevertheless, the vaccine, post-administration, would impart an immune response which would cause you to test positive for any antibody tests. These tests indicate the presence of an active defense system against COVID-19.
- Myth: I can develop COVID-19 post-vaccination.
Truth: None of the approved vaccines contain the live virus and cannot trigger the disease itself. On the contrary, the vaccine is designed to teach the immune system to recognize and defend itself in the event of a virus attack in the future. Therefore, you cannot be sick with COVID-19 due to the vaccination.
Our immune system takes a few weeks to build up immunity against the virus. It is quite likely that you can have a viral attack and suffer from COVID-19 due to an unprepared immune system. But this is due to the lack of protection from the vaccine yet , not because of it.
- Myth: COVID-19 vaccine is unsafe as it was developed quickly.
Truth: With the current advancement in science and technology, the development of COVID-19 vaccines underwent a faster procedure to approval without missing any safety steps. The vaccine has been proved safe and efficacious, and has been recommended for immediate use among adults. Having said that, the manufacturing process was thorough, and a lot of manpower and resources were put in to get through the confirmation, approval, and production of the vaccines to curtail the damage caused by the SARS-CoV2.
- Myth: COVID-19 vaccines can cause allergic reactions.
Truth: In rare instances globally, certain participants displayed severe allergic reactions post-vaccination and had to be admitted and treated immediately. Therefore, you should ask a doctor before getting vaccinated if you find yourself allergic to any component of the vaccine and have had a severe allergic response such as anaphylaxis in the past.
- Myth: There is no need to wear a mask post-vaccination.
Truth: Wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and regular washing of hands must continue post-vaccination until the pandemic has been put in check. Practicing these precautionary steps not only continues to protect you from the disease but also protects your near and dear ones from contracting the virus.
- Myth: I have been infected with COVID-19 and therefore do not require vaccination.
Truth: Since research continues to determine the duration of the immunity received post-infection, it is highly recommended to be vaccinated despite a previous infection. Mayo Clinic strongly recommends getting vaccinated 90 days post-infection and not during infection or quarantine.
- Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine comes with a microchip to control the population.
Truth: The COVID-19 vaccines do not have any microchip or nano transducers to track and control the general population. The vaccine consists of specific ingredients designed to instruct the body to build up immunity against SARS-CoV2 to provide protection, thereby preparing the immune system in the event of an actual attack from the virus.
With over a year of the onset of the pandemic, vaccination too now comes under the list of practices to prevent contracting and spreading of the infection. Many myths circulate, preventing scores of people from getting vaccinated and availing the benefits of the same. It is, therefore, necessary to debunk these myths, consult with your doctor, and get vaccinated. The right information prevents fear from spreading and helps the people stand united against this infection.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- What are the common side effects that I can face post-vaccination?
You can face certain common side effects such as redness and swelling near the vaccination site. You might also experience tiredness, headache, chills, fever, and nausea post-vaccination. These side effects would vanish in a few days, and you can get back to your daily activities.
- How long does the vaccine impart immunity to the body?
The duration of immunity provided by the vaccine has not been currently determined as some programs are now even suggesting proceeding for a third dose in a year. Nevertheless, while research is underway to determine the time of the immunity, vaccination aims to prevent the people in contact with you from contracting the virus if you test positive for a current infection.
- Can I get vaccinated if I have underlying medical conditions?
Yes, of course. It is possible to get vaccinated if you have any underlying medical conditions if you have not displayed an allergic reaction to the vaccine or the vaccine’s ingredients. In fact, owing to reports suggesting an increased viral load in people suffering from various medical conditions, it is encouraged that they should get vaccinated at the earliest.