How Can We Clear Up Misconceptions of the COVID-19 Vaccine to the public?

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Introduction

As we all know COVID-19 has had a huge impact on everyones lives for the past year. Our year came to a halt and we were all forced to quarantine in order to keep out communities safe. But, things are looking better for society. The scientists who were hard at work to create the vaccines the past year finally have a safe vaccine ready to be distributed to the world. As the vaccine was shipped around the world some issues started to arise with people’s willingness to take the vaccine. The most common misconception of the vaccine is that it was rushed therefor it isn’t safe, but every step and precaution was taken in order to create the vaccine. Anything will happen quickly when every pharmaceutical team in the world is working on creating a vaccine for COVID-19. We are going to dive in and explore the misconceptions of the vaccine, why they aren’t true, and how to educate your community on the reality of the vaccine.  

How Does the COVID-19 Vaccine Work?

The vaccine produces The COVID-19 vaccines produce protection against the disease, as a result of developing an immune response to the SARS-Cov-2 virus. Developing immunity through vaccination means there is a reduced risk of developing the illness and its consequences. This immunity helps you fight the virus if exposed.

 

What are the Three Main Vaccines Distributed?

The three main vaccines distributed and the ones that came out with quickest were the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. These are also the vaccines that have the most misconceptions about them. Making many people hesitant to receive them, despite the fact that they are all perfectly safe. 

 

 

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Pfizer Vaccine

The Pfizer Vaccine is an RNA messenger vaccine, this is how it protects the body from the virus. How it works is it gives instructions for the virus spike protein which is encoded in mRNA and then delivered via lipid nanoparticle. The Pfizer vaccine is 95% effected and over 300 million doses have been distributed in the US alone. It is a two dose vaccine each needing to be received three weeks apart, it is safe for children over the age of 15. 

Misconceptions

Myth: I do not have to get the vaccine because I have already had COVID-19 and recovered.

Fact: Although there is not enough information to confirm how long the natural immunity period is after one has been infected and recovered from the virus we do know that like any other virus you can get it again and again. Even though you have already happen that does not mean that it can’t be the same or even worse as the first time you were infected. But, it is highly advised that you do not receive the vaccine fewer than 90 days after being diagnosed with COVID-19. 

Myth: There are severe side affects of the COVID-19 vaccine

Fact: Just like any other vaccines or medications there are mild to moderated side affects that should resolve on their own days after injection. These include; headache, chills, fatigue, muscle pain or fever. Any other complication due to the vaccine alone is very rare, especially instances of polio or any other huge complication. 

Myth: I don’t need to wear a mask after I get vaccinated for COVID-19

Fact: Even though you have received your vaccine not even half of the US has, there is still lots of time for outbreaks. We must NOT slack on the safety precautions taken for COVID-19, especially masks. Once you have received the vaccine, if you get the vaccine the chances of you getting severely sick or dying are significantly lowered. But it is still unknown how effective it is at lowering the rate of spread or infection to others. 

 

 

Pfizer Vaccine

Moderna Vaccine

Just like the Pfizer vaccine the Moderna vaccine is an mRNA vaccine. How it works is it gives instructions for the virus spike protein which is encoded in mRNA and then delivered via lipid nanoparticle. It is 94% effected, but has not been tested on individuals under the age of 18. It is a two dose vaccination that needs to be administered three weeks apart. 

Misconceptions

Myth: More people will die from the negative effects of the vaccine than from the actual virus

Fact: This idea has been circling the media and is completely incorrect. It is thought that the mortality rate of COVID-19 is 1%-2% and that vaccines should not be given with viruses that have such a small mortality rate. But even if the mortality was as minimal as 1% that is still 10 times higher than that of the flu. The chances of actually dying from the vaccine due the vaccine alone is virtually impossible. You are not being injected with a life virus it is an inactivated vaccine. 

Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine was developed to control the general population either through microchip tracking or “nanotransducers” in our brains

Fact: This rumor started to circulate the internet after comments made by Bill Gates and the Gates Foundation surfaced the internet referencing technology and the COVID-19 vaccine. Bill Gates has not been implemented in any way shape or form in the making or distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. There is no vaccine microchip and the government can not track you after receiving the vaccine. 

Myth: The vaccine will alter my DNA

Fact: The Moderna vaccine is an mRNA vaccine with only affects proteins in the body. The vaccine will not alter your DNA it is not physically possible. The mRNA that is injected into the body is actually discarded soon after it has completed it’s job which is giving instructions to the protein cells. 

Moderna Vaccine

Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a non-replicating viral vector. How this works is it is a DNA sequence for COVID-19 spike protein delivered via adenovirus type 26 vector. It is 67% effective, so not as widely used as the Pfizer of Moderna but it is still helpful. It is thought that is isn’t as successful as the other vaccines because it is only one dose. 

Misconceptions

Myth: COVID-19 vaccines were developed using fetal tissue 

Fact: In no way shape or from were fetal tissues used in the making, development or production of the vaccine. 

Myth: COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility or miscarriage 

Fact: Multiple tests have been done on the vaccines and none of them led to infertility or increase in miscarriage rates. Many of these claims are made by infamous anti-vaccination organizations. 

Myth: I am allergic to eggs so I shouldn’t get the COVID-19 vaccine

Fact: This is a common misconception because many other vaccines such as the flu vaccine contain egg whites. But the COVID-19 does not contain eggs nor were eggs used in the development, or production of the vaccine. Although it is highly suggested that if you have severe food allergies you stay in the office for 30 minutes after receiving either vaccination just for precaution.

 

 

 

Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

How Can I Help?

The media is a very persuasive and large part of our lives. This can be both good and bad, a lot of information we see is not very truthful. So I encourage you to reach out to your community through social media and educate them on the truth of the vaccine which you just learned. I also encourage you to speak up in school or even in social settings when you hear someone saying a common misconception about the vaccine. It is about social justice, everyone deserves to know the facts of the COVID-19 vaccine before deciding wether or not they want to receive it. It is not fair for someone to make that decision with their knowledge of it being misconceptions. We can also hold public educational presentations for the public who are interested in learning about the safety and facts of the vaccines and which one they should consider getting. This is important in protecting our communities and making sure everyone has access to the correct information. Too much false information can impact out communities negatively, lets make sure we educate our communities.

 

Feedback

If you have any questions about the information in this presentation or any ideas to help clear up the misconceptions of the COVID-19 vaccine to the public please let me know! I know that as a group we can help educate the public to make sure we get the most out of the vaccine. 

 

Sources

Mayo Clinic Health System. 2021. COVID-19 vaccine myths debunked. [online] Available at: <https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/featured-topic/covid-19-vaccine-myths-debunked> [Accessed 21 April 2021].

BioPharma Dive. 2021. Coronavirus vaccines are rolling out quickly. Here’s where the pipeline stands.. [online] Available at: <https://www.biopharmadive.com/news/coronavirus-vaccine-pipeline-types/579122/> [Accessed 21 April 2021].

 

 

 

4 Comments

4 comments

  1. Jocelyn,
    What a timely topic! You provide a great deal of information in a very professional manner. Thank you for teaching me!
    Good job.
    Dr. Brown
    AA GOA Coordinator

  2. Thank you, Jocelyn, for putting yourself ‘ou there’ for all of us. Every voice counts and yours has been and will be heard!

    Hugh

  3. Hey Jocelyn!
    I think you have tackled a very important topic! I really appreciated all of the facts that refute the myths. I have been on edge because I know two people who have been diagnosed with long-term illnesses caused by the vaccine, so it’s comforting to hear some claims refuted! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. Hi Jocelyn! You did a great job of addressing these misconceptions, and I have honestly heard a lot of them before. It will be great to use the facts that disprove the misconceptions whenever I hear someone share false information. One question that I have for you is how do you think the recent recall of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine will change how people feel toward COVID vaccines?

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