Since December 2020, COVID-19 Vaccinations have been rolling out around the world.
While a majority of people have now been vaccinated, there is still work to do in ensuring seniors can feel confident booking their first, second, or even third vaccination appointments.
Since the COVID-19 vaccine has been approved, the medical community worldwide has been closely monitoring and studying it as more and more people become vaccinated.
We wanted to take the opportunity to debunk some popular myths about the vaccine.
MYTH #1: The COVID-19 vaccine can make you sick with COVID-19
FACT: None of the approved vaccines (or vaccines in development) contain the live COVID-19 virus.
No live virus means you cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine. You may have heard of people getting COVID-19 after receiving the vaccine. The COVID-19 vaccine is not a cure. It helps prevent infection but is not a barrier to getting COVID-19. Some vaccinated people are still getting infected, and a subset of these individuals are still getting sick.
In those who contract COVID-19, the vaccine reduces the risks of getting seriously ill from the disease. Some vaccinated individuals experience no symptoms, while others have milder symptoms.
MYTH #2: The vaccine was developed too quickly – the side effects are still unknown.
FACT: All COVID-19 Vaccines went through the same approval steps all vaccinations must complete.
COVID-19 is a global health crisis, and as such, for one of the first times in history, the entire medical and scientific community were focused on one goal - a safe and effective way to prevent COVID-19.
With safety as a priority, all vaccines go through three basic stages of development:
- Exploratory stage
- Pre-clinical stage
- Clinical stage
On January 11, 2020, the genetic code of the virus that causes COVID-19 was published. This allowed scientists from all over the world to start finding vaccines. Following all of the same approvals and testing all vaccines must pass, safe and effective vaccines began to emerge. Only those proven safe, effective, and of high quality have been approved for use in Canada. Learn more about how the vaccine was made
MYTH #3: There are a lot of side effects and adverse reactions to the vaccine.
FACT: About 0.011% of doses administered in Canada have had a serious adverse effect.
*Over 4.8 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered globally. **In Canada, over 50 million doses have been administered. Of those, only 0.018% reported having an adverse effect, with the most common being soreness and redness at the site of the injection. Of the 50 million doses given to Canadians only 0.006% have reported a serious effect.
**There have been over 1.4 million cases of COVID-19 in Canada, and 26,719 people have died. COVID-19 has killed 2,356 Albertans alone. COVID-19 is more deadly than any risk the vaccine may present.
MYTH #4: The COVID-19 vaccine will alter my DNA
FACT: The Pfizer and Moderna vaccine use mRNA, which does not tamper with DNA.
mRNA vaccines work by teaching your existing cells how to make a protein that triggers the immune response needed to fight off COVID-19. Once your cells learn this, they will break down the mRNA, and it will be gone from your body. Injecting an mRNA vaccine into your body does not interact with or alter the DNA of your cells. Both vaccines have proven to be safe and effective.
MYTH #5: I’ve already had COVID-19 so I don’t need the vaccine.
FACT: There is not enough known about COVID-19 to say how long immunity will last after the initial infection.
Studies are still being done to see how long natural immunity lasts after recovering from COVID-19. It is also unknown at this time how someone who was previously infected would react if they were exposed to a variant of concern.
With all of these unknowns, it is the recommendation of Health Canada to receive a vaccine even if you have already had COVID-19.
* Global Change Data Lab (Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford), August 18, 2021
** Government of Canada Health Infobase, August 18, 2021
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