Home Coronavirus: News and Advice COVID-19 vaccination – separating the fact from fiction

COVID-19 vaccination – separating the fact from fiction

by Guy Murphy

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic social media has been flooded with false information and conspiracy theories shared. This includes a number of myths regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, so let’s spread facts rather than myths about the vaccine.

Dr Dawn Heath, GP at Prescot Medical Centre and lead for Knowsley’s GP vaccination sites said: “Getting the COVID-19 vaccine is a really important and the best way to protect both yourself and those around you.

“The vaccine is completely safe and has gone through all the correct clinical trials and met all regulatory requirements.

“By getting the vaccine you are playing your part and helping us all to get back to some kind of normality.”

Here we look at busting some of the most common vaccine myths:

Getting vaccinated is just as important for those who've already had COVID-19 as it is for those who haven’t. We don’t know yet if having COVID-19 protects you from catching it again, so we encourage everyone to get the vaccine. #LetsGetVaccinated

There are no plans for the COVID-19 vaccine to be compulsory, but if you are offered an appointment, you are encouraged to take it as the vaccine is the best protection from this virus. If you choose not to get the vaccine, you'll still be able to travel unless new rules are introduced #SpreadTheFacts

There is no material of foetal or animal origin in either vaccine. All ingredients are published in healthcare information on the MHRA's website.

For the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine information is available here.

For the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine information is available here.

Like all vaccines the COVID-19 vaccine can cause mild and short-term side effects, but not everyone will have them. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority has advised on a precautionary basis that people with a significant history of allergic reactions do not receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. They can however be vaccinated using the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine #SpreadTheFacts

The Public Assessment Reports contain all the scientific information about the trials and information on trial participants.

For the Pfizer vaccine, participants included 9.6 percent black/African, 26.1 percent Hispanic/Latino and 3.4 percent Asian.

For the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, 10.1 percent of trial recipients were Black and 3.5 percent Asian.

There is no evidence either of the vaccines will work differently in different ethnic groups.

However, there is strong evidence that people from BAME backgrounds are at a greater risk of becoming serious unwell due to coronavirus.

All vaccinators will undertake comprehensive training developed by Public Health England before vaccinating anyone. They will also be supervised and assessed by senior clinicians, just like any other vaccinator #SpreadTheFacts

It's beneficial for people of all ages to get the COVID-19 vaccine as it'll help to protect you, your family and those you care for #LetsGetVaccinated

The COVID-19 vaccine cannot give you the COVID-19 infection, and two doses will reduce your chance of becoming seriously ill. You should be able to work after getting the vaccine. Self-isolation is only if you develop symptoms or test positive for the virus. #LetsGetVaccinated

Just like any other vaccine, the COVID-19 vaccine works by teaching your immune system how to defend itself against attack.

You cannot catch coronavirus from the covid 19 vaccine

You cannot get the COVID-19 infection from the COVID-19 vaccine & getting the vaccination will reduce the chance of you suffering from COVID-19 disease. However, you may not be fully protected until at least seven days after your second dose of the vaccine #SpreadTheFacts

Dr Edward Morris, the president at The royal college of obstetricians and gynaecologists said “we want to reassure women that there is no evidence to suggest that covid 19 vaccines will affect fertility. There is no biological plausible mechanism by which current vaccines wold cause any impact on women’s fertility”

The types of vaccine that are licensed for use against COVID-19 do not interact with or alter your human genetic code (DNA). Messenger RNA (mRNA) is a small molecule that is made naturally by your cells, bacteria and viruses and provides a blueprint for protein manufacture. The Pfizer-Biotech and Moderna vaccines are based on mRNA which act as chemical negotiators within the body to provide it with a plan on how to develop an immune response against Covid-19.

mRNA never enters the nucleus of the cell which is where our DNA is kept and therefore doesn’t interact with our DNA in any way. To genetically modify your DNA, you would need to insert a foreign DNA into the nucleus of a human cell and vaccines don’t have the capacity to do that.

There have been many claims around the ingredients of the COVID-19 vaccine, from foetal cells to microchips, again many are based on fallacy not fact. The vaccine was originally developed through utilising replicated human kidney cells which have been filtered out of the final product. The claim around microchips refers to an interview with Bill Gates who stated that ‘we will have some digital certificates’. He was referring to the infrastructure for safe, home-based testing – not the vaccine

Vaccination is always a hotly debated topic for some, though the majority of the population strongly supporting the national rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine.

If you have a family member, loved one or friend who’s anxious about the vaccine, don’t provide pressure but rather provide support, fact-based information, and the ability to have an open non-judgmental discussion. Even if you don’t understand their thinking, remember that their fears and concerns are real to them. You can share the medical facts by passing on this article.