What the science says about 7 common COVID-19 vaccine myths

p 1b 90614102 10 myths about covid 19 vaccines

This story is a part of Doubting the Dose, a collection that examines anti-vaccine sentiment and the position of misinformation in supercharging it. Learn extra right here.

The Pfizer-BioNtech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccines could also be miracles of contemporary medication, however they had been additionally developed in a remarkably quick timeframe, amid a sea of misinformation and conspiracy theories. So it’s comprehensible that some might really feel initially hesitant about getting vaccinated.

Whereas there’s a right away have to get many individuals vaccinated shortly with the intention to cut back an infection charges and the likelihood that additional harmful mutations will happen, convincing the vaccine-hesitant might take time.


Greatest practices for speaking about the significance of COVID-19 vaccination embody genuinely listening to the considerations that others categorical and only providing answers you recognize to be true. For those who’re uncertain about a truth, it’s positive to say so and to direct the individual to a good supply or do extra analysis your self.

With all the misinformation floating round, we rounded up seven common vaccine myths that will dissuade individuals from getting vaccinated. Right here’s what the science tells us about the COVID-19 vaccines.

Fable: The vaccines had been rushed to market, so we don’t know their long-term impacts.

It’s true that the three COVID-19 vaccines had been developed in file time—lower than one yr versus the regular 10 to fifteen years that it normally takes to get a vaccine by means of the phases of growth and testing.

That is due to the severity of the pandemic, the quantity of funding the effort acquired globally, and the dedication of researchers who labored round the clock on this large endeavor. Reasonably than minimize corners on scientific trials, different points of the course of had been streamlined, such as pre-building manufacturing facilities.

All three vaccines had been constructed on expertise that has been in development for years. Pfizer and Moderna each launched mRNA vaccines, which have been in growth for many years. mRNA vaccines are additionally being researched for Zika, flu, rabies, and extra, according to the CDC. “They had been capable of leverage that expertise that was used for a distinct therapeutic use,” Rupali Limaye, a scientist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg Faculty of Public Well being, informed Quick Firm after approval of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines earlier this yr. Equally, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine builds on years of research about adenovirus-based vaccines.

It’s unlikely that there are long-term results of this vaccine that we haven’t seen in trials. “The one long-term results which have occurred after licensed vaccines are ones we realized about inside weeks or months of vaccination,” writes science journalist Tara Haelle in Elemental. “If the COVID-19 vaccine precipitated long-term results past the unwanted effects reported in the trials, we’d know about them by now.”


Fable: Getting the vaccine means getting a small quantity of the virus injected.

None of the photographs really offer you the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19. As an alternative, the permitted vaccines work by educating your physique methods to make one thing referred to as a spike protein, which is a protein that’s a part of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This protein triggers your physique’s pure immune response. That manner, when you’re later uncovered to the virus, your physique will already be outfitted to struggle it.

In the case of Pfizer and Moderna, your physique is taught this via messenger RNA, or mRNA. The J&J shot accomplishes the similar factor via a harmless adenovirus engineered so it comprises the genetic data for the spike protein.

Fable: Vaccines can change your DNA.

This appears like a scary concept, however the mRNA that’s utilized in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines by no means interacts together with your DNA, and it breaks down shortly as soon as it does its job serving to your physique develop antibodies to the virus’s spike protein. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine additionally doesn’t alter your DNA.

Fable: Vaccines can have an effect on your fertility.

In a joint assertion, consultants from the American Faculty of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Society for Reproductive Drugs, and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Drugs emphasised that there was no proof of the vaccine affecting fertility, saying, “Whereas fertility was not particularly studied in the scientific trials of the vaccine, no lack of fertility has been reported amongst trial contributors or amongst the tens of millions who’ve acquired the vaccines since their authorization, and no indicators of infertility appeared in animal research. Lack of fertility is scientifically unlikely.”

A method we all know this? Charges of vaccine trial contributors who acquired pregnant after being vaccinated were similar to being pregnant charges of trial contributors who acquired the placebo, which suggests getting vaccinated was not detrimental to fertility. Pregnant individuals are at (*7*), nevertheless.

Fable: Plenty of persons are having allergic reactions to the vaccine.

Solely an extremely small number of people have had a response that was extreme sufficient to require remedy with epinephrine or hospitalization. There’s a system for vaccination suppliers to report extreme reactions, so the CDC is keeping superb data of this. You probably have allergic reactions, it is best to speak with a health care provider earlier than getting vaccinated. Uncomfortable side effects are potential, as with every medication, however the advantages of the vaccine far outweigh the dangers.

Fable: The brand new variants will make the vaccines ineffective anyway.


Whereas it’s true that a few of the new strains of the virus make vaccines much less efficient, consultants nonetheless assume that vaccination is crucial. “Even in years once we don’t get an excellent match with the flu vaccine, we see some good thing about immunization,” UCLA Well being’s Dr. Annabelle De St. Maurice told the Los Angeles Times. “And that’s the similar for SARS-CoV-2. Even when the vaccines are much less environment friendly, getting the vaccine is best than not getting the vaccine.”

If and when new mutations make the vaccines considerably much less efficient, it’s potential to replace mRNA vaccines shortly. Researchers are already wanting into the concept of a third booster shot to higher shield individuals who acquired the Pfizer or Moderna shot from new and extremely transmissible variants. (The Johnson & Johnson vaccine could also be updated, although its design requires a number of extra steps.)

Fable: Getting vaccinated doesn’t cut back your danger of spreading the virus to others. 

Extra analysis continues to be being achieved to know how—and if—vaccinated individuals can nonetheless unfold the virus to others, even when they don’t get sick (or solely have minor signs) themselves. To this point, early research from Israel suggests that vaccination drastically reduces the probability of asymptomatic transmission of the virus. That’s nice information!

After all, even when the vaccines didn’t cut back the likelihood you may unfold it, it could nonetheless be value defending your self. For now, the CDC nonetheless recommends sporting masks and persevering with to social distance after getting vaccinated with the intention to shield others. It’s additionally essential to do not forget that you’re not protected straight away; it usually takes round two weeks after vaccination to construct adequate immunity.