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Vaccine Myths Debunked

by Audrey Stevenson, PhD, MPH, MSN, FNP-BC

The internet often provides a lot of mixed messages about the COVID-19 vaccine, with opinions, fears, or conspiracy theories clashing with actual science. It’s no wonder a lot of people are confused about what’s real, what’s to be trusted, and most importantly – what to do. Let’s alleviate your hesitancy by giving you the facts behind the theories.

MYTH:
The vaccine development was rushed.

No and yes.

When a vaccine goes into development, it costs exorbitant amounts of money, time, and resources to create. There are also many levels of approvals and trials required that can often be tied up for long periods of time – months and years, even – because there are many other medications, treatments, and vaccines that are simultaneously in the queue to be examined and approved by global Food and Drug Administrations and similar agencies. And sometimes lack of funding grinds these developments to a halt. Because of this, our basic vaccine perception is that effective ones take years to develop.

When COVID-19 struck and became a global pandemic, scientists put other projects on hold (resources), they refocused their energy into working on this vaccine alone (time), and world-wide governments, pharmaceutical companies, private donors, and citizens came together to provide the funding (money) it would need to remove the standard roadblocks.

So, in comparison to a non-pandemic world where vaccines can sometimes take years to go from initiation to trial testing to approval, it was faster. But there were no steps skipped in the process – so it wasn’t rushed. It was funding and world-wide collaboration that merely streamlined the process.

Think of it like building a house. You need permits, supplies, and manpower. If only a single person was building the house, it would take years to do. But, if you were at the front of the line for permits, supplies and funds were limitless, and thousands of qualified builders arrived at your door, it would be completed much more quickly while maintaining quality and codes.

Get details on the trials here.

MYTH:
The COVID-19 vaccine messes with your DNA.

Not at all.

mRNA technology, which is what the COVID-19 vaccine is developed with, is unable to enact with the nucleus of your cells, where DNA resides. Instead, it tells your cells to create a protein that stimulates your immune system to recognize and fight COVID-19 if it enters your body.

Think of it like a crime fighter who shows up to your door, holds up a photo of bad guy, and says “Get ready. This dude might show up. And if he does, fight him.” So, your body starts building ammunition and protecting itself from any COVID-19 invasion. And based on testing, you have up to a 95% chance of whooping its butt.

MYTH:
There’s stuff in the vaccine you shouldn’t trust.

Not unless you have a serious vendetta against salt.

mRNA vaccines contain fats, salts, and a small amount of sugar. They also contain those crime fighting messengers we spoke about above. They do not contain any strain of the COVID-19 virus, fetal cells, or microchips. The only tracking devices related to COVID-19 is your cell phone so we can contact you about your upcoming vaccine appointment and Salt Lake County Health Department updates so you can continue to stay informed.

MYTH:
The vaccine is dangerous if you have a chronic disease.

Actually, the opposite.

Having a chronic disease can make you more vulnerable to life-threatening symptoms, long-term side-effects, or even death if you contract COVID-19. The vaccine will help boost your immunity and give your already compromised system a better chance in fighting it.

MYTH:
The vaccine affects fertility.

No, but COVID can.

There is no plausible medical rationale for the vaccine to interact with eggs, sperm, or an existing fetus. And trials have shown that the vaccine doesn’t affect fertility, but COVID does. Pregnant women with COVID have experienced complications such as miscarriage, still birth, blood clots, and preterm delivery. Getting the vaccine can help the mother stay healthy during pregnancy to protect both herself and the baby.

MYTH:
If I get the vaccine, I can finally ditch the mask.

In certain circumstances.

The CDC released a statement that fully vaccinated people can ditch the mask, particularly in outdoor environments. However, government buildings and medical facilities, as well as public and private transportation and privately-owned businesses may still require wearing one to enter. The reason being is that while vaccination gives you up to 95% protection against contracting life-threatening symptoms from COVID-19, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t carrying it, which you could inadvertently pass along to others. Until we’ve reached herd immunity with at least 70% of Utahns (and the country) vaccinated, it’s best to continue precautions to keep your family, friends, coworkers, and community safe. We know masks aren’t fun unless it’s Halloween, but the sooner people get vaccinated, the sooner masks will go away for good.

MYTH:
I’ve already had COVID-19 and survived, so I’m immune now.

Nope.

First, having COVID is no guarantee that your body has developed antibodies. And there have been cases where people have had COVID-19 more than once. Add in the spread of variants (other strains) of COVID-19 and your chances of contracting it again go up. The vaccine gives you up to a 95% chance of preventing that from happening and we’re sure you don’t want to go through it twice.

MYTH:
The virus isn’t serious and won’t affect me.

11M+ people are about to disagree with you.

COVID deaths in the U.S. now exceed half a billion. But what is really coming to the surface is that 1/3rd of those who had COVID and survived, or didn’t experience serious illness, are now experiencing long-term side-effects such as chronic fatigue, shortness of breath, permanent loss of taste and smell, brain fog, and other symptoms. While some people are hesitant about the vaccine because they worry about long-term side-effects, it’s COVID who is the culprit delivering on that fear with 11+ million people reporting lingering symptoms.


This site provides helpful facts from Utah’s top doctors and scientists, and information to help you schedule your vaccine appointment.

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