Get the facts about COVID-19 vaccines: five rumors debunked
Recently the FDA approved COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. Since then, you may have heard rumors about their safety and effectiveness on social media or from people you know.
It’s reasonable to have concerns about a new vaccine.
To help you separate fact from fiction, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Medical Directors are breaking down some of the most common myths.
As you read, remember that everyone has a spot in line to receive a vaccine. For more on distribution, visit the NCDHHS.
Myth #1: The vaccine was rushed.
Fact: It’s true that the COVID-19 vaccines were developed at a rapid pace. But they were rigorously tested for safety and effectiveness.
In approving the vaccines for emergency use, the FDA has made sure that they are as safe as possible. Because of the pandemic, vaccine development benefited from generous federal funding and many volunteer subjects.
Scientists also had a head start in developing vaccines for similar viruses. Many years of research laid the foundation for the development of COVID-19 vaccines.
Myth #2: We don’t know what’s in the vaccine.
Fact: Some conspiracy theories say the Pfizer vaccine contains a tracking microchip planted by the U.S. government. In reality, the vaccine has only 10 ingredients, none of which are capable of surveilling the American public. The ingredients are commonly found in everyday medications and vaccines you’ve seen before.
The active ingredient in the Pfizer vaccine is a messenger RNA (mRNA). It works by preparing your immune system to fight off an infection if you come into close contact to someone who has COVID-19.
Myth #3: We don’t know if the vaccine is safe because there hasn’t been enough testing.
Fact: The two vaccines that are approved as of December 21 went through large clinical trials. Altogether, nearly 74,000 people volunteered to participate in the trials. Since then, medical professionals have administered more than 26 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines. Testing showed both vaccines are safe and more than 94% effective.
It is true that we don’t yet have data about potential long-term effects of the vaccine. However, experts such as Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, are confident of the safety of the vaccine.
Like with all vaccines, the FDA will continue to monitor for safety.
Myth #4: The vaccine causes severe side effects and adverse reactions.
Fact: The COVID-19 vaccines can cause mild symptoms. After getting a COVID-19 vaccine, some people may have a soreness in their arm, fever or tiredness. This is normal and is a good sign that the body is building immunity to protect you from COVID-19.
The CDC says side effects may feel like the flu. It may affect your ability to do daily activities, but side-effects should go away in a few days. To learn more about potential side effects, visit the CDC’s website.
Myth #5: The vaccine could give me COVID.
Fact: The vaccine cannot cause COVID-19. Instead, it prepares your immune system to recognize and fight the infection. Experts say that side effects are a result of your immune system responding. This is often a sign that the vaccine is working.
As you continue your research, remember to look to credible sources rather than social media comments. The North Carolina Department of Health is a great resource for vaccine information, including rollout plans in our state.