You're not alone. After waiting months for a vaccine that could help slow the spread of COVID-19, we now have 3 excellent vaccine options. However, we also have some mistruths about them, causing confusion and concern.
We tackle the top 5 myths about the COVID-19 vaccines in order to make your decision to get vaccinated an easy one.
5 COVID-19 vaccine myths debunked
MYTH: The COVID-19 vaccines were developed too fast and may not be safe.
Great news: neither is true. The FDA reports that the vaccines are safe and effective. On average, typical vaccine trials include just over 20,000 participants, but the COVID-19 vaccine trials included 30,000 to 60,000 participants. While some people have experienced side effects from the vaccines, most have been mild, including arm pain in the area where they got the shot, and 1 to 3 days of fatigue, muscle pain and flu-like symptoms. A very small number of people experienced more severe reactions, such as anaphylaxis, which were treated by medical professionals at the vaccination site. Talk to your doctor if you have allergies or had a reaction to a vaccine before and are concerned.
MYTH: The COVID-19 vaccines can give you COVID-19.
Nope. Not true, not even a little. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), none of the 3 available vaccines, made by Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson - or any of the vaccines currently in late-stage trials in the U.S. - contain the live virus that causes COVID-19, so they can't give you COVID-19. However, they do give you protection against it. Any mild side effects that you feel after being vaccinated are signs your immune system is working, not a sign that you're getting sick. And while we're on the subject, the vaccines also don't change or interact with your DNA in any way, and do not cause infertility.
MYTH: I had COVID-19, so I don't need to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
Actually, you really should. Even if you had a mild case of COVID-19, you probably have no desire to catch it again. The vaccine can help. According to the CDC, because there are severe health risks associated with the coronavirus, everyone who is eligible should get the vaccine, even after having COVID-19. Catching it again is possible, and experts aren't sure how long you're protected from another infection after recovering. Just wait to be vaccinated until you no longer have any symptoms and you have completed your full 10 days of isolation. But because you're less likely to catch COVID-19 again within 3 months of your initial infection, experts say it's OK to wait up to 90 days after recovery to be vaccinated.
MYTH: Once I'm vaccinated, I don't have to wear a mask and I can hug and high-five everyone.
Not so fast. The vaccination can protect you from getting COVID-19, but it's not known whether it prevents you from spreading COVID-19 to others. Continue to wear a face covering, and hold those hugs and high-fives until more people have been vaccinated and we're closer to reaching herd immunity. Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Biden, believes that might require upward of 75% of the population being vaccinated. So, you know the drill: Wear a mask, avoid crowds, maintain 6 feet between you and others outside your home, and wash your hands often.
MYTH: If you're young, you don't need to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
Sorry, but you do. While it's true that older people are at greater risk for severe complications if they catch COVID-19, young people can also get really sick. There's no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you, both while you're sick and after you recover. And if you get sick, you could spread it to friends, family and others around you. And remember that big percentage of people - more than 75% - Dr. Fauci says need to be vaccinated for herd immunity? Well, young people are included in that number. So, we're counting on everyone to get in line to get their shot once their age group is eligible.
Get COVID-19 vaccine information and access to COVID-19 resources from Sharp HealthCare.