Despite all the scientific evidence that shows Covid-19 vaccines are safe and effective, misinformation circulating on social media plays a important role in instilling fear in people’s mind and causing vaccine hesitancy.
What information to believe and how do you distinguish between accurate and inaccurate information?
Not everything you read or view on social media or news outlet is accurate. You have to be aware of the misinformation which is “ false information regardless of intent to mislead” and disinformation which is “ false information that is spread deliberately to deceive or mislead”. And before you make any health decisions based on information you are receiving from the internet, ask yourself these questions- Is the information coming from a credible and reputable source? What evidence is provided to support it? What is the intent of the source? WHO, CDC, and FDA are great sources for reliable information.
Here are few myths and facts about Covid-19 vaccines.
Myth: The Covid-19 vaccines were developed too quickly, therefore, its safety is compromised.
Fact: The path for drug or vaccine development is not an easy task. FDA sets stringent rules and rigorous development process for Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers to follow before it grants authorization or approval. Although few steps during development were overlapped, the vaccine studies were completed without skipping any phase of the clinical trial. FDA scientists and medical experts evaluated all scientific evidence from the clinical trials and determined the known and potential benefits outweigh the known and potential risks of the vaccine. In addition, the unprecedented global collaboration of the vaccine development for funding and use of resources helped move things faster regarding the development process and its approval. Furthermore, mRNA technology used with Pfizer and Moderna vaccines was not new as many think. Researchers and scientists have been working on mRNA technology for decades.
Myth: Getting the Covid-19 vaccine can make me catch the virus.
Fact: None of the vaccines contain Covid-19 virus or any live virus. mRNA vaccines work by giving the cell instructions to produce the protein that is found on the surface of the virus. This process will trigger immune response and start producing antibodies to fight the virus and protect us from having severe symptoms and getting hospitalized. According to CDC, Covid-19 vaccines teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes Covid-19.
Myth: Side effects of Covid-19 vaccines are life threatening, we should not take them?
Fact: Majority of people develop normal side effects such as fever, headache, fatigue, and muscle pain that get resolved within few days.
Although serious adverse events from the Covid-19 vaccines can occur, few people develop them. According to CDC, millions of people in the United States have received Covid-19 vaccines under the most intense safety monitoring program in U.S history and severe side effects such as anaphylaxis reactions, thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome after J&J Vaccine, myocarditis after Pfizer or reports of death are very rare. FDA and CDC continue to monitor and evaluate adverse events caused by Covid-19 vaccination and take necessary action based on that.
Myth: Covid-19 Vaccines contain microchips to track me and ingredients to make me magnetic.
Fact: All the ingredients of the vaccine are listed in the vaccine information fact sheets and none contains microchip to track you or ingredients that produce electromagnetic field, nor it contains microchips to track movement. CDC Appendix D lists the ingredients included in Covid-19 vaccines “All the components that go into vaccines are heavily tested to be sure that everything that is in there, at the dose that is in there, is safe for humans,” says Dr. Katherine O’Brien, World Health Organization (WHO)Director of Department of Immunization and Biologicals In addition, FDA reviews components of the vaccines and their safety before granting approval.
Myth: Covid -19 vaccine cause infertility and I should not get it if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
Fact: Based on the surveillance and monitoring data of the vaccines, there is no evidence that Covid-19 vaccines affect fertility. “There is absolutely no scientific evidence or truth behind that vaccines interfere with fertility, either in men or in women,” says Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, WHO Chief Scientist.
The available data emphasize that the vaccine is safe for pregnant women and breastfeeding moms. And because pregnant women are at higher risk of getting severe Covid-19, CDC “recommends COVID-19 vaccination for women who are pregnant, (including those who are lactating), to reduce the risk for severe COVID-19–associated outcomes,”
“So based on all the evidence that we have, it is not only safe for breastfeeding mothers to be vaccinated, but it is also highly recommended,” says Dr. Laurence Grummer-Strawn, WHO unit head food and nutrition action in Health system.