Debunking COVID-19 Vaccine Myths [Video]
NORTHBROOK, Ill.—February 8, 2021—In this edition of Straight Talk! with Jeff Cross, Dr. Gavin Macgregor-Skinner of the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC), a division of ISSA, discusses COVID-19 vaccine myths vs. facts. Vaccinating the population is the fastest way out of this pandemic, but misinformation has understandably caused some confusion about the safety of the vaccines, how they work, and who should get them. Dr. Macgregor-Skinner is here to clear up five of the most common myths with science and evidence so that you can make informed decisions when the vaccine becomes available to you.
Myth 1: The vaccines are not safe because they were developed so fast.
It’s true that the COVID-19 vaccine was developed faster than any other vaccine in history—under one year from when SARS-CoV-2 first appeared. However, although SARS-Co-V-2 was new to scientists, coronaviruses were not, and scientists have been studying them for decades. Dr. Macgreggor-Skinner explains, “There are a number of reasons the COVID-19 vaccines were developed more quickly. For me, as a scientist, as an epidemiologist, that’s exciting, but none of these reduce its safety profile.”
Myth 2: COVID-19 vaccines can give you COVID-19 disease.
Dr. Macgreggor-Skinner assures that it is impossible for the vaccine to give you COVID-19 disease—no matter which one you receive—because none of the vaccines available use live virus, which is the only way to become infected. The vaccine may cause mild side effects that feel like symptoms, but Dr. Macgreggor-Skinner stresses, “Any side effects—headache, chills, a sore arm—that’s a good thing because it’s due to your immune response actually working; it shows that you’re reacting positively to the vaccine, and it’s not from being infected.”
Myth 3: People who have had COVID-19 do not need the vaccine.
Dr. Macgreggor-Skinner explains that because of the severe health risk of COVID-19 and the fact that reinfection is possible, the CDC recommends (and he agrees) that everyone should get the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to you, even if you have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past.
Myth 4: After receiving the vaccine, you cannot transmit the virus.
The vaccines that are available now are designed to prevent the virus from making you sick—and they are very effective at that. The vaccines have not yet been tested to determine if it is possible for a vaccinated person to become infected with SARS-CoV-2 (but not sick) and then transmit the virus to others. Until further study, vaccinated people should continue to wear masks and practice social distancing to reduce any possible risk of transmission to unvaccinated people who are still waiting their turn.
Myth 5: The vaccine will protect against COVID-19 for life.
The vaccine produces a robust immune response that protects against the development of symptoms and severe COVID-19 disease; however, Dr. Macgreggor-Skinner explains that we don’t yet know how long immunity will last—that research is ongoing. It’s possible that, like the flu, we will need an annual COVID-19 shot to remain protected against SARS-CoV-2 and any emerging variants.
In conclusion, Dr. Macgreggor-Skinner says, “We have a number of viable, effective, safe vaccines, and it’s important to keep sending us your questions, to keep the conversations going, and as we learn more, we’ll share that new knowledge with everyone within the cleaning industry.”
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