Get the truth behind these COVID-19 vaccine myths.
As the COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, misinformation has begun to spread like the virus itself. Let’s take a look at these myths and uncover the truths behind them, so you have all the facts about the vaccine.
Myth 1: The COVID-19 vaccine can cause infertility.
There are claims that antibodies to the spike protein of COVID-19, which are produced by the vaccine, will bind to placenta proteins and prevent pregnancy. But, for those hoping to have children in the future, there is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine can cause infertility.
“In fact, a number of women actually became pregnant while going through the vaccine trials,” says family medicine physician Dr. Amit Mehta, medical director of community medicine for Geisinger in Centre County.
Myth 2: The COVID-19 vaccine isn’t safe and was rapidly tested and distributed.
While it may seem like the vaccine was developed quickly, it’s important to know that mRNA vaccines had been studied for years before we saw the first case of COVID-19 and were already in development.
“The emergency situation of the pandemic warranted an emergency response and dedication to vaccine development — as well as an emergency release of the vaccine once it was approved,” says Dr. Mehta. “And the vaccine still needed to pass safety protocols and testing set by the FDA in order to be released in any capacity.”
What also saved a lot of time in the development and release of this vaccine is that it was manufactured in conjunction with testing.
Myth 3: I’ve already had COVID-19, so I don’t need the vaccine.
“If you’re eligible to get the vaccine, we recommend that you get it — even if you’ve already had COVID-19,” says Dr. Mehta.
Why? Because there isn’t enough information on how long natural immunity (antibodies your body makes from having the virus) lasts, but we do know that it declines over time. So getting boosted immunity from the vaccine will help to protect you from getting the virus again.
“But, if you’ve recently had or currently have COVID-19, it’s recommended that you wait to get the vaccine until you’re feeling better," says Dr. Mehta. "You should wait at least 10 days after your symptoms started and 20 days if you were hospitalized." This will allow others a chance to get the vaccine while you do have newly formed natural antibodies against the virus.
Myth 4: There’s a microchip in the vaccine.
Perhaps one of the most popular rumors, this one is simply false. The goal of the vaccine is to keep people from getting sick — and save lives from a potentially deadly virus. Not to track people or gather information on them.
“There’s also no way to put a microchip in a vaccine,” says Dr. Mehta.
Myth 5: Getting the vaccine can give me COVID-19.
The COVID-19 vaccine doesn’t contain the live virus, so it can’t give you the virus. This myth probably arose because some people experience symptoms similar to the virus after getting the vaccine, including fever, body aches and headache.
“These are normal symptoms and show that your body is forming an immunity against the virus,” says Dr. Mehta. “Most people experience these symptoms after the second dose, and they go away within 24 to 48 hours.”
The most common side effect from the first dose of the vaccine is redness and soreness in the arm where you got the injection.
“If you have any additional questions about the vaccine or whether you should get it, contact your doctor,” says Dr. Mehta. “They can give you advice based on your medical history and answer all your questions.”
To sum up, when you can get the vaccine, you should. Not only is it safe, it’s our best defense against the virus — and the beginning of the end of the global pandemic.