Top 10 Myths about COVID-19 Vaccines
When seeking information about the COVID-19 vaccines, it is important to seek out trusted sources of information. Get the facts and tune out the noise. The Canadian Dental Association encourages Canadians to get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it's available to you.
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It will still take some time for Canada to be able to vaccinate an adequate number of people to see a substantial drop in COVID-19 cases.
In order to achieve herd immunity, the point where disease is no longer likely to spread, about 70% of the population will need to have been vaccinated or infected. Because of the worldwide pandemic, pharmaceutical companies can only make so many vaccines at a time.
COVID-19 vaccines continue to be made available to everyone in Canada who are recommended to get the vaccine by federal, provincial and territorial public health bodies. Doses of the vaccines are distributed in phases, which began in December 2020. Assuming the continued supply of safe and effective vaccines, the Government of Canada is expecting that there will be enough vaccines to immunize everyone for whom vaccines are approved and recommended throughout 2021.
It is important that we all continue to do our part to help slow the spread of the virus, including wearing a mask, cleaning our hands frequently, and keeping our social distance (2 metres) even after getting vaccinated.
There is no scientific reason that the vaccine would impact fertility.
To date, there is no evidence that suggests risks to getting vaccinated if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. In fact, there may be benefits to vaccination as pregnant women are at increased risk of severe disease from COVID-19 and pregnancy complications.
Whether you are pregnant now or planning to get pregnant in the future, your first step should be to speak with your obstetrician, midwife or family doctor. They will review the risks and benefits of COVID-19 vaccination to help you decide what is right for you.
If you choose to receive the COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy or the postpartum period, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends scheduling it at least 14 days before or 14 days after any other vaccination.
If you are pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to conceive and require more information about getting the COVID-19 vaccines, check out Sunnybrook Health Sciences’ FAQ, or contact your health care provider / regional heath authority for further details.
Most people who get COVID-19 are able to recover. However, it’s true that some people develop severe complications from the virus. The COVID-19 virus can damage the lungs, heart and brain; it may also cause long-term health complications that experts are still working to fully understand.
Getting vaccinated can significantly reduce the likelihood of more severe illness, but it can also help protect those around you – another good reason for getting vaccinated. Even if you don’t get very sick from the COVID-19 virus, the possibility exists that you could pass it on to others who may be more severely affected. Widespread vaccination protects our general population, including those who are most at risk and those who cannot be vaccinated for specific reasons.
Getting vaccinated is one critical tool in our toolbox in slowing the spread of COVID-19 and helping our communities move forward out of this pandemic.
If you’ve already had COVID-19, you may still benefit from getting vaccinated. Researchers also don’t know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Early evidence from case reports where patients have been infected twice with COVID-19 and developed symptoms suggests natural immunity against COVID-19 may not last very long and more studies are needed to better understand this. Natural immunity, or the immunity someone gains from having an infection can also vary from person to person.
It is still recommended to get the COVID-19 vaccine, even if you’ve previously had COVID-19. Depending on certain circumstances, sometimes vaccines should be delayed for a period of time based on the recommendation of your health care provider. Speak to your health care provider about how long you should delay getting the COVID-19 vaccine if you are currently, or have experienced the following:
- you’ve already had COVID-19;
- you are in quarantine after being exposed to COVID-16; and/or
- you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
Some participants in the vaccine clinical trials reported side effects similar to those experienced with other vaccines, including muscle pain, chills and headaches. Although extremely rare, people can have severe allergic reactions to ingredients used in a vaccine. That’s why experts recommend that individuals who have a history of severe allergic reactions, such as anaphylaxis, to the ingredients of the COVID-19 vaccines should not get the vaccination.
Visit the Government of Canada’s website for authorized vaccines for Canada, ingredients for each vaccine and possible side effects.
Despite theories that may be circulating on social media, there is no vaccine microchip, and the COVID-19 vaccines will not track people or gather personal information into a database.
According to the Mayo Clinic Health System, this myth started after comments from The Gates Foundation about a digital certificate of vaccine records. The technology referenced is not a microchip, has not been implemented in any manner, and is not tied to the development, testing or distribution of COVID-19 vaccines whatsoever.
No this is not true. There is no relationship between mRNA in vaccine and your DNA. mRNA is part of a new approach to vaccines. mRNA sends a unique instruction to specific cells for them to make the “spike protein” that is found on the new coronavirus. When the immune system sees this spike protein that are produced by the cells, it mounts an immune response by creating antibodies that will bind specifically with the spike protein removing it from causing further harm and teaching the body how to protect against future infection. The mRNA never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA (genetic material) is kept. The body gets rid of the mRNA naturally after it message has been use the targeted cells.
Messenger RNA (mRna) vaccines, like the COVID-19 vaccines currently available in Canada, cannot give you COVID-19 because it doesn’t contain the live virus. COVID-19 vaccination provides our cells with instructions on how to produce a copy of a protein that is found on the surface of the COVID-19 virus. Our bodies recognize this protein which is what starts our immune response.
After vaccination, you may experience some fatigue, muscle aches, a headache or a fever. These side effects are completely normal with any vaccine – it’s a sign that your immune system is responding.
Get the facts: the Government of Canada offers additional information about vaccine safety and vaccine side effects.
Researchers have been working on vaccines for the coronavirus family for more than three decades and did not have to start from scratch to develop the COVID-19 vaccines. The COVID-19 vaccines were developed in a condensed time frame, but the science behind them was not rushed.
The development of these vaccines has progressed quickly for many other reasons, including:
- advances in science and technology;
- international collaboration among scientists, health professionals, researchers, industry and governments; and
- increased dedicated funding.
Health Canada has prioritized the review of all COVID-19 drugs and vaccines. If manufacturers apply through the interim order process, the review process can begin right away, including reviewing any new evidence as it becomes available, instead of waiting until all studies are completed. Health Canada has also dedicated more scientific resources to complete these reviews so that they’re done quickly but without cutting corners. A similar process was used in 2009 to review and authorize the H1N1 pandemic vaccine.
Health Canada’s independent drug authorization process is recognized around the world for its high standards and rigorous review. Decisions are based only on scientific and medical evidence showing that vaccines are safe and effective. The benefits must also outweigh any risks.
Vaccination is a critical tool in our toolbox in slowing the spread of COVID-19 and helping our communities move forward out of this pandemic. Watch this video to learn about COVID-19: How vaccines are developed.
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Until next time!
CDA Oasis Team