How could the Covid-19 vaccine possibly be safe if it was produced, tested and authorized in record time? How can we trust anything backed by this administration?
Vaccines, especially, attracts myths and rumors and coronavirus vaccines seems to be fiction magnets.
Here are a few of the more common ones:
The Covid-19 vaccines were too rushed. We cannot know if they are safe.
It’s true the vaccines being produced against coronavirus were created in record time.
But that’s not because they were rushed. It’s because of careful preparation. The technology that underlies both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines — the first two to get through the US regulatory process — has been in the works for more than a decade and was made precisely for a pandemic situation.
This plug-and-play technology needs only the genetic code of a new virus, and that was available just days after the new coronavirus was identified and isolated.
Vaccines are usually slow to develop because — contrary to popular belief — they are not big money makers for pharmaceutical companies, so production doesn’t ramp up unless there is a guaranteed market. In this case, the United States government paid billions up front so the companies would feel secure in going ahead and making vaccines at the same time they started the months-long process of clinical trials.
These trials went speedily because of the pandemic itself. So many people were getting infected across the country that it did not take long at all to tell whether the vaccine could protect people from infection.
In addition, the hospitals and academic labs that did the testing sped up their own processes, fling paperwork daily, for instance, instead of waiting for weeks to file it in batches. And the US Food and Drug Administration scientists who reviewed the data worked seven days a week to review the information, dropping everything else to speed along their decisions.
The companies themselves submit to outside experts called Data and Safety Monitoring Boards while the trials are ongoing.
Finally, the review was subject to outside eyes. The FDA submitted all the data to the independent Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, a group of mostly non-government, non-industry experts who reviewed the data.
They overwhelmingly voted that both the Pfizer/BioNtech and Moderna vaccines are as effective and as safe as the companies who made them say they are.
Anyone who wants to can see the data. It’s posted online, and was published in the New England Journal of Medicine for any expert to review and critique.
People who have allergies can’t get the vaccines
It’s true that people who have allergies to the specific ingredients in these vaccines should not get them. But that is a pretty short list, and might include ingredients such as polyethylene glycol.
Old-fashioned flu vaccines are grown in eggs and some people with egg allergies were warned against getting some flu vaccine formulations — but even flu vaccines have been reformulated in recent years and many are egg-free. The coronavirus vaccines are not made using eggs. They also do not contain preservatives that might trigger allergies.
“Honestly, anaphylaxis and other serious allergic reactions are considered a potential risk with every licensed vaccine,” said Dr. Elissa Malkin, assistant research professor of
Medicine at the George Washington University and a co-investigator on the Moderna vaccine clinical trial at GW.
“It is not surprising that as more people get vaccinated that allergic reactions would appear. We expect them to be uncommon and rare,” Malkin told CNN.
No allergic reactions were seen in the clinical trials of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, which involved just under 80,000 people. As they are rolled out among millions of people, more are likely to be seen, however.
One health worker who suffered an allergic reaction in Fairbanks, Alaska on Friday issued a statement saying she would be vaccinated again. “Anaphylaxis is a rare but expected potential side effect that is treatable and does not have long term health implications like Covid,” she said.
I would get the vaccine and recommend it to anyone, despite my reaction,” she added.
“I’ve seen firsthand the suffering and death of COVID patients and my adverse reaction to the vaccine pales to what Covid infection can do to people.”
The vaccine will permanently change your DNA
This rumor may have started because the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines both use genetic material. But they don’t change DNA. They use RNA, which doesn’t hang around in the body.
Former US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Tom Frieden came up with this analogy:
“An mRNA vaccine doesn’t actually contain the virus itself. Think of it as an email sent to your immune system that shows what the virus looks like, instructions to kill it, and then—like a Snapchat message—it disappears. Amazing technology,” Frieden tweeted.
The vaccine is more dangerous than Covid-19
Brown University emergency room doctor Dr. Megan Ranney took this one on. She noted that at least one percent of people who catch coronavirus die of it. “Another 10-20 percent are hospitalized. Another 30 percent or more have long lasting symptoms. The vaccine is far safer, with only minor temporary side effects,” Ranney said on Twitter.
In both Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccine trials, no worrying side-effects were seen. Covid-19 has killed more than 313,000 Americans — more than 1.67 million people globally, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Coronavirus is just a myth
If it’s a conspiracy, it’s a good one. Tens of thousands of doctors and nurses around the world must be colluding in this lie. Every single government, the United Nations, the World Health Organization, the CDC and countless other organizations must be in on it.
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Media organizations big and small must be in on this conspiracy and users of social media around the world must also be deciding to lie as they post pictures of their own suffering and that of loved ones who have suffered from this virus and been killed by it.