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COVID-19 Vaccine: Busting Some Of The Common Vaccine Myths

Since its advent in December 2019, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused 2,682,256 deaths, affecting over 121,278,064 people. Covid-19 can affect anyone, causing symptoms ranging from mild to very severe. Some people may be more likely to have severe illness than others because they have characteristics or medical conditions that increase their risk.

As India began the second phase of the vaccination drive on 1 March, everyone above 60 years of age and those over 45 years with comorbidities will be getting the COVID-19 vaccine. In the first month of 2021, the Indian government had approved two vaccines - Covaxin developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech and Covishield from the Oxford-AstraZeneca stable being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII).

Several reports have suggested that the doubts regarding the Covid-19 vaccines are prevalent amongst the public. Dr Raman Gangakhedkar, the prestigious Dr C G Pandit National Chair at Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), recently gave out a statement, busting the myths surrounding the Covid-19 vaccines and here are the primary points.

Busting COVID-19 Vaccine Myths

There has been a lot of misinformation surrounding vaccines and their development. Here are some of the common ones and the facts behind them.

Myth 1. The COVID-19 Vaccine Is Unsafe Because It Was Developed So Quickly

Fact: The COVID-19 vaccines that have been authorized are proven safe and effective and have gone through the same rigorous Food and Drug Administration process as other vaccines, meeting all safety standards [1].

Myth 2: The COVID-19 Vaccine Will Alter Your DNA

Fact: No, it doesn't. This myth stemmed from the concern that because the vaccine contains genetic material, which is injected into the body, could it somehow mix in with your own genetic material and make internal alterations that can affect the DNA. The vaccines contain RNA (mRNA) that never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is 'kept'. Moreover, the human body gets rid of the mRNA in the process [2].

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Myth 3: The COVID-19 Vaccine Includes A Tracking Device

Fact: All over social media, there were claims that the vaccine contains a tracking device. This stemmed from the claim that the products of syringe maker Apiject Systems of America, which has a contract with the government to provide medical-grade injection devices for the vaccine, is doing so, so the Govt. can keep track of the people. One another false claim was that Bill Gates is behind the 'tracking device.' Anyway, experts have outright rejected these claims.

Myth 4: The COVID-19 Vaccine Has Severe Side Effects

Fact: Partially true. There have been reports of side effects, including muscle pain, chills and headache, and severe allergic reactions. Therefore, experts recommend people with a history of severe allergic reactions to the vaccine ingredients not get the vaccine shots [3].

Myth 5: If You Have COVID-19 Already, You Don't Need The Vaccine

Fact: False. If you have already had COVID-19, there is evidence that you can still benefit from the vaccine. However, no clear data is available on how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19 [4].

Myth 6: You Can Get COVID-19 From The Vaccine

Fact: Entirely untrue. One cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine because it doesn't contain the live virus.

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Myth 7: Certain Blood Types Have Less Severe COVID-19 Infections, So Getting A Vaccine Is Not Necessary

Fact: According to research, there is no proof that being a certain blood type will lead to increased severity of COVID-19 [5].

Myth 8: COVID-19 Vaccine Can Cause Infertility

Fact: One of the most wide-spread rumours regarding the COVID-19 vaccines was that they could cause infertility. In his statement, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan pointed out that there is no scientific evidence suggesting that the two vaccines Covishield and Covaxin administered in India could cause infertility in either women or men.

Myth 9: You Can Stop Wearing A Mask If You Get A COVID Shot

Fact: According to the CDC, only if you and the people around you are fully vaccinated then you may go maskless. However, in the current scenario, there is still a high COVID contraction risk; therefore, one must wear their masks and take all the precautionary measures [6].

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On A Final Note...

Dr Gangakhedkar said, "As you asked, there are several such issues like the efficacy of Covaxin is 81 per cent, it is 70 per cent in case of Covishield while Pfizer has claimed 95 per cent efficacy. We should not go into these details as to which vaccine has how much efficacy. Go and take the vaccine, which is available [7]." He also added, "People can test positive for coronavirus even after taking the vaccine, but that doesn't mean the vaccine has not worked. The vaccinated person has not that impact of the virus which the non-vaccinated person is likely to have. Vaccinated will not have severe disease."