Debunking COVID-19 vaccine myths

Updated: Dec. 9, 2020 at 6:06 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - With the U.S. still waiting on COVID-19 vaccine distributions, there has been widespread misinformation spreading on social media about the legitimacy of the Coronavirus vaccine and its safety.

We looked into a few of those questions and claims, and heard from Dr. Sanjay Gupta, associate chief of the neurosurgery service at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, who clarified the questioning.

#1: “The Vaccine isn’t safe because the production of it was rushed.”

Dr. Gupta: “It really is pretty remarkable how fast the vaccine was developed, but it was more like taking the code, the genetic code, and plucking out a piece of that code that would be used to make the vaccine. It’s more like a computer code than making a biologic in the lab, for example. But messenger ANA for the vaccines was started decades ago, two decades ago, finding out how to create the new RNA vaccine. Yes, it was fast typically, it takes years, not months, but the scientific development for it [the vaccine] has been around for some time.”

#2: “If I had COVID-19 already, I don’t need the COVID-19 vaccine.”

Dr. Gupta: “If you got the natural infection for COVID-19, you likely did develop antibodies and that gives you protection. The issue right now, we don’t know how long that sort of protection lasts. It could last a long time, but it may not, and we’re seeing evidence of reinfection. So, that’s one reason that you should probably get the vaccine anyway. The second reason is that the vaccine is sort of designed, especially with the two-shot vaccines to prime the immune system and then boost it. Hopefully, the type of immunity that you get, lasts longer and is stronger from the vaccine than natural infection. We don’t know that for sure, but that could be the case.”

#3: “Taking the COVID-19 vaccine will give me COVID-19.”

Dr. Gupta: “One thing about these vaccines is that you’re not actually getting the virus. That’s typically how we think of vaccines, going back to smallpox...In this case, you’re just giving the genetic code for a portion of the virus. As a result, you’re not actually giving any virus, certainly no live virus at all in the vaccine and you really can’t get infected. We’re going to see the trial results and what happens with the FDA.”

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