- Quinn Malter
Is the COVID-19 Vaccine Dangerous?
There’s been a lot of speculation about the COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson since their release last year. We’re breaking down some of the most common beliefs surrounding the vaccines.
These vaccines were developed so much faster than usual. Are they really safe?
Yes. The global scientific community came together very quickly to share research and other resources that helped to speed up our response to the pandemic. Additionally, Pfizer and Moderna had already spent years working on a coronavirus vaccine and the mRNA technology used in their vaccines, so it was available as soon as development on COVID-19 vaccines started.
As far as certification goes, developers managed to complete every step in the testing process by conducting some on an overlapping schedule, and many individuals were more than willing to help in the search for a solution.
Sources: Johns Hopkins Medicine, Boston University, American Association of Family Physicians
Can the COVID-19 vaccine cause infertility?
No. There is absolutely no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine causes infertility or miscarriages. In fact, the CDC now recommends that pregnant women get vaccinated.
This rumor originally started when a German epidemiologist suggested that the coronavirus’s spiked protein slightly resembled a spiked protein found in the placenta during pregnancy, which might make the body of a vaccinated woman reject the placenta and terminate a pregnancy. In reality, these two proteins are not genetically similar enough for the body to make that mistake.
Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Boston University, WebMD
Does the vaccine contain a microchip?
No. First of all, if you’re worried about being tracked by a microchip, you should probably ditch every electronic device and social media account you own, because that’s a far easier way to gather data and keep tabs on you.
Second, there’s no such thing as a vaccine “microchip.” This rumor grew out of a misrepresentation of digital vaccine certificates proposed by Bill Gates, which don’t yet exist. Not once did Gates even mention microchips.
Sources: American Association of Family Physicians, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Boston University, Mayo Clinic
Can the vaccine alter my DNA?
No. The mRNA vaccines used by Pfizer and Moderna do not impact the nucleus of a person’s cells, where DNA lives. Instead, it tells the cells to produce an immune-boosting protein, then quickly breaks down.
Sources: American Association of Family Physicians, Johns Hopkins Medicine, CDC, Mayo Clinic
Doesn’t the vaccine cause some really nasty side effects?
Severe side effects (none of which are life-threatening) are exceedingly rare. The most common side effects are injection site pain and redness, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, nausea, and temporarily feeling lousy. These are fairly common side effects from any vaccine and prove that your immune system is responding appropriately. You can relieve some of these side effects by drinking lots of fluids, dressing light, applying a cold washcloth to the injection site, exercising the arm where you received your vaccine, and taking over-the-counter medications. Trust us, the effects of COVID-19 are so much worse than anything the vaccine could do to you.
Sources: Johns Hopkins Medicine, CDC, Mayo Clinic
I’ve already had COVID-19 and recovered from it. Do I really need the vaccine?
Yes. Studies have shown that once you’ve recovered from the coronavirus, the antibodies in your system only last a few months at most. In other words, you can get COVID-19 again. Vaccines are the only way to ensure longer-lasting protection.
Sources: Nature Communications, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Boston University
People who were vaccinated are still getting COVID. Why should I bother?
There’s no such thing as a 100% effective vaccine. Sadly, that medical miracle remains out of reach at the moment.
That said, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are more than 90 percent effective at preventing COVID (J&J is about 66 percent effective). By contrast, flu vaccines are only 40 to 60 percent effective. And vaccinated people who do contract the coronavirus are far less likely to be hospitalized than those who are unvaccinated.
Sources: Mayo Clinic, CDC, Boston University
Can I still get the vaccine if I’m allergic to eggs or latex?
Yes. None of the vaccines contain eggs or latex.
Sources: Mayo Clinic, Allergic Living, Allergy & Asthma Network
If you’re like us and want to see this pandemic end sometime soon, do yourself, your family, and your community a favor: get vaccinated. Vaccines are free and available to all people ages 12 and up.
To schedule an appointment, you can call the vaccine hotline at 1-888-445-4111. The hotline is live Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., or Saturday-Sunday: 8 a.m.- 2 p.m.
You can find your nearest vaccination site online and sign up by calling the individual site. Click here to find a comprehensive list of vaccine clinics in Maine.