There are a lot of scary-sounding stories flying around the internet about COVID vaccines right now. Let's decipher which ones are myths and the truth about the COVID vaccines.
The COVID-19 vaccines are a controversial subject — that much is clear. There are many people with different reasons for feeling skeptical about the vaccines, from those who are hesitant to receive the vaccination to those who are outright anti-vaccination. Combined with the popularity of social media and the politicization of the vaccination campaign, vaccine myths have been widely spread around the internet. But, vaccinations are incredibly important to protecting ourselves and others, so how can you identify what’s true and what’s a myth? To help you out, we did our research, which we’ll report on below. Let’s see where the science takes us, so you can make an informed decision about the COVID vaccine!
The Speed at Which the Vaccines Were Made Means They Were Rushed
Sadly, this is a myth that’s the result of incomplete information. Not enough people know the full story behind the vaccines’ development. The reason why the vaccines were developed and released so quickly is because vaccines for coronaviruses (a category of viruses) have been in development for decades. When the COVID-19 pandemic created a need for a specific coronavirus vaccine, a lot of work had already gone into creating the vaccine. Then, government programs helped speed up the approval and manufacturing process while maintaining safety standards. The researchers behind the COVID vaccines deserve the credit for the years of work they’ve put into them, not to be accused of cutting corners.
The Vaccines Aren’t Approved by the FDA
While it’s true that the vaccines only have emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) right now, the safety of the vaccines isn’t in question. The vaccines are expected to receive full approval at the earliest timeframe. The reason why the vaccines were distributed with emergency use authorization is because they each showed enough evidence to convince the FDA that they were safe and the need for the vaccines called for an expedited release schedule.
If You’re Young, You Don’t Need the Vaccine
It’s important to note that, as of publication, a vaccine hasn’t been approved for children younger than 12. By “young,” we’re referring to young adults or teenagers within the age range approved for the vaccines.
There are plenty of reasons why this is patently false. While it is true that younger people are less likely to get severely or dangerously sick, that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. Thousands of young people have died from COVID-19. Even if you don’t die, you can still get terribly sick with long-lasting physical or mental health side effects. The sickness itself can be miserable, even if you’re not a long-term sufferer.
Beyond the risk to yourself, not being vaccinated means you can catch COVID, not know you have it, and accidentally give it to someone who is at-risk. As a result, they could get really sick or die. Even if you don’t have symptoms, you can still put others at risk. Finally, there has been a lot of talk of variants, which are a result of the virus infecting other people and mutating. The more cases of COVID we have, the higher the chances of potentially dangerous variants developing. The more people who become vaccinated, the fewer potential hosts in which COVID could mutate into the next variant. The choice to not vaccinate is one that can put you and others at risk, no matter your age.
I’ve Heard of People Getting Vaccinated and Still Getting COVID, so the Vaccine Doesn’t Work
There is no such thing as a perfect vaccine with 100 percent protection. That said, these vaccines are incredibly effective, some over 90 percent protective against COVID. Even the ones that are slightly less so greatly reduce your risk of catching COVID. Of course, there’s always the chance of a breakthrough case, though the numbers are extremely encouraging in that these cases are rare. The great news is that even with breakthrough cases, evidence shows that vaccines lower your chances of spreading COVID and, more importantly, almost eliminate your risk of hospitalization or dying from COVID. While you may see a random story claiming someone died after getting the shot or caught COVID after being fully vaccinated, it’s important to get the full story and look at the full context of the numbers.
Vaccines Shedding Causes Sickness for Others
Vaccine shedding (or viral shedding) is when after receiving a vaccine with a weakened virus, the body releases viral particles from the vaccine. Vaccine skeptics claim this could create a risk of infection. What’s important to note in this myth is that none of the COVID-19 vaccines currently approved use this method of creating an immune response, so viral shedding cannot occur from the vaccines. Even in live-attenuated vaccines, the type that uses weakened viruses (like the flu shot or shingles vaccine), there is little-to-no evidence that vaccines can cause you to shed enough viral particles to infect someone else, meaning it isn’t a public health concern.
The Vaccine Injects a Microchip into You
This myth relates to an old conspiracy theory that harkens back to a project by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to look into ways to track vaccination statuses in countries that don’t have the infrastructure to do so. The theoretical solution was never a tracking microchip, though, but rather an invisible dye that health care professionals could shine a light or use an app to detect the presence of the ink in the skin. The idea never made it out of animal testing, though this hasn’t stopped conspiracy theorists from using it to smear every vaccine since the data was originally misconstrued.
The Vaccine Causes Infertility
This myth has already been thoroughly debunked, so this will be a short explanation. Most parents, or those who want to become parents, want to take every precaution, so it’s understandable to be cautious with what you put into your body. Thankfully, many researchers are confident that the vaccines are safe for pregnant women to take and won’t harm you or the baby. In fact, there’s evidence that the vaccines given to mothers may provide some protection to their newborns. Don’t worry, there is currently no real evidence that the vaccine will cause infertility.
There’s No Reason Why You Can’t Get the Vaccine
We said we’re going to share the truth, and it’s important to acknowledge that there are specific circumstances where getting the vaccine may not be a good idea. However, like all important health matters, this should depend on the suggestion of your primary care physician. If you’re allergic to components in the COVID vaccines or if you’re allergic to any vaccine or medication, your doctor could recommend that you don’t get the vaccine. Additionally, your doctor may advise against vaccination for other reasons specific to your health. For example, if you were already infected by COVID-19, your doctor may recommend that you delay getting vaccinated until at least 90 days have passed. You can always check with your doctor to be safe!
The Vaccine is Painless
It’s important to address the fact that there are side effects, so that you know the full scope of what to expect. The only way to build trust is to acknowledge the whole truth, not just the convenient truth. While the vaccines are generally safe, there are side effects that can make the next day uncomfortable. But not everyone gets side effects and most people who have gotten them report mild flu-like symptoms to general fatigue and aches. Our suggestion to mitigate the side effects — give yourself a day off and relax on the couch with your favorite movies or tv shows and make sure to hydrate and rest. There is also the slim chance of an allergic reaction to a vaccine, which is why most providers should have you wait around at the vaccine site after getting the shot. Talk to your doctor if this is a concern for you.
The Side Effects of the Vaccine are Worse Than Those of COVID
This is simply not true. While you may feel sick for a day or so, most people will feel tired, achy, and a little fluish. We listed the long-term effects of COVID-19, which can include death. Being achy is not as bad as dying.
All Vaccine-Hesitant People are Anti-Vaxxers
Not everyone who has yet to get the COVID vaccine falls into the anti-vaxxer category or is someone who is staunchly against getting vaccines. In fact, most polls split the not-yet-vaccinated population into differing levels of enthusiasm, like interested but haven’t gotten it yet, may get it, will only get it if made to or incentivized, and the group we classically define as anti-vaxxers. It’s important to not treat them as a homogenous group, especially if you’re trying to convince someone to get the shot. When discussing their concerns, know which group they’re in, make them feel heard, and know how to discuss the subject properly.
Can the Vaccine Make You Magnetic?
Okay, let’s look at the actual claim first. The vaccine won’t make you magnetized. Here’s why. First, there are no metals or substances with magnetic properties in the shot. Second, even if there were, there’s only about a milliliter of substance in the shot, which isn’t enough to make a magnetic field. What you’re most likely seeing on TikTok or other outlets claiming to show magnetized people is the metal sticking to natural oils or moisture on their skin, like how people can balance a spoon on their nose.
But, the main reason we bring this myth up is because there will be other vaccine conspiracies that we won’t be able to cover here. We’ll give you a little peak behind the curtain at Medicareful Living. Except for breaking news, our articles tend to get written a bit in advance so they can be properly edited and checked before going live. Between the time this article was written and its publication, we had to update it several times with new myths.
The CDC is exploring the possible relationship between a rare, but mild heart condition and the vaccine in a specific population of the country, with a total of 226 cases total. If the health reports that these myths claim were as widespread and serious as their supporters claim, wouldn’t the CDC at least be looking into those, instead of a rare heart condition that ibuprofen could help treat?
The COVID-19 Vaccine is One of the Most Important Tools to Control the Virus and Get Back to Normal Life
This isn’t a myth. It’s the truth. We can all do our part to protect ourselves, protect our loved ones, and get America going again. If you’re unsure about getting the COVID vaccine, talk to your doctor, your spiritual leader, or your friends and family. You likely know a few people who have received the vaccine who could give you a personal account of how it went for them.
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