Ask anyone and they have an opinion regarding the COVID-19 vaccine whether that opinion is based on fact or hearsay. A few weeks ago, Hamilton Community Health Network vaccinated our frontline workers. Nearly 200 staff received the Moderna vaccine at Hamilton and our office our biggest complaint was our arm hurt from the shot.
To help alleviate some fear, we want to go through a few of the bigger myths or assumptions we’re hearing.
The first myth and most common is that the COVID-19 vaccine is not safe. Per the CDC, COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. Millions of people in the United States have received COVID-19 vaccines, and these vaccines have undergone the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. This monitoring includes using both established and new safety monitoring systems to make sure that COVID-19 vaccines are safe.
A few things to consider when it comes to the speed of the vaccine development: This is the first vaccine where thousands of scientists collaborated across the world to develop a vaccine. This has never been done before. All of this collaboration led to faster results. There was also funding available. Normally during research projects, scientists finish a portion of their study, submit those results and wait for more funding. That funding wait wasn’t needed as the purse strings were wide open.
“The companies put their vaccines through rigorous clinical trials involving tens of thousands of volunteers. In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration requires them to follow up with volunteers for up to two years after receiving the vaccines to make sure they are safe and effective. Because of how prevalent COVID-19 is, it only took a few months for the clinical trials to collect enough data to make an initial evaluation. The FDA, as well as an independent panel of vaccine experts, closely scrutinized the data from those trials and deemed Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines safe and effective for emergency use. Similar independent panels in several other countries were in agreement.”
Our second myth you may be hearing is the COVID vaccine will give you the virus. It won’t, just like the flu vaccine won’t give you the flu. The COVID vaccine conditions your immune system to recognize and fight off the infection but does not actually give you COVID-19. Many people mistake the side effects for the disease itself and the two are not the same. Feeling fatigue, muscle aches, a headache or even a fever are all signs that your immune system is responding to the vaccine, but you do not have the disease. Think of it as a simulation, that is testing your immune system so that if/when the virus does try to attach itself, your immune system is already conditioned to be able to instantly fight it off.
Another myth regarding the vaccine is, it will alter your DNA. Nope – it can’t. The truth is receiving an mRNA vaccine will NOT alter your DNA or genetics. Here’s the science: Messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) is a compound that tells your body how to make certain proteins. The vaccine cannot interact or change your DNA (genetic material) because it is unable to get to the part of the cell where the DNA is stored – the nucleus. The nucleus has a protective shell which is impossible for mRNA to crack. Instead, the proteins made from this mRNA interact with your body’s natural immune system to create a robust antibody response to Covid-19, without you getting sick.
As always do your own research and use credible sources. The COVID-19 vaccine has met safety standards. It is designed to protect you from contracting this deadly virus. Opinions are rampant now, but should not be taken as fact. We at Hamilton Community Health Network will do our job in providing you with reliable education on the vaccine but encourage you to research fact-based resources to help you make the right decision for you and your family. If you have questions or concerns, contact your physician at Hamilton Community Health Network for more information.