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COVID-19 Myths and Facts

COVID-19 Vaccine Myths and facts

Published on February 1, 2021

Three-Minute Read

Erik AuBuchon, DO, an internal medicine physician and medical director of health informatics at Phelps Health, addresses some common myths associated with the COVID-19 vaccine.

Myth: I was vaccinated for COVID-19, so I do not need to continue wearing a mask, practicing physical distancing or performing hand hygiene.

Fact: Wearing a mask, practicing physical distancing and performing hand hygiene are all important to continue doing. All of these measures together, [along with getting vaccinated], will help decrease the spread [of COVID-19] at a much faster rate than any one of them alone. Studies so far have been focusing on preventing illness, [the] clinical illnesses from COVID-19, but [these studies] have not shown how effective [the vaccine] is at preventing or reducing spread to those with little to no symptoms or what we call asymptomatic carriers. How this vaccine works is fantastic, but we do not really know how [the vaccine] affects people who are asymptomatic carriers, and these are, unfortunately, the ones [who] are most likely to spread the illness quicker to a higher degree [of individuals]. As many people have said, the vaccine is just one more tool in our toolkit for getting rid of the virus. Handwashing, wearing a mask, physical distancing [and] vaccinating are what is going to end this pandemic.

Myth: I already had COVID-19, so I do not need to get vaccinated.

Fact: We do not know how long immunity lasts when you actually contract [COVID-19]. Some studies suggest that less severe or mild cases may not cause a very robust immune response, and [immunity] may not last long. There are case reports of patients getting reinfected [with COVID-19] as early as three months after their initial infection. We do not know if [these patients are getting COVID-19 again] from a different strain, or it is the same strain and their immunity decreased.

Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine changes your DNA.

Fact: This is probably one of the most common questions I get asked in the clinic. mRNA [which is used to create the COVID-19 vaccine] is basically just a blueprint to build a protein [in the body]. The mRNA will never get into where DNA is stored inside the nucleus of the cell. So number one, [mRNA] cannot get to that point [the DNA]. Plus, even if [the mRNA] could [get to the DNA], it does not have the tools to be able to convert from mRNA to DNA nor the tools to actually be inserted into the DNA. For [mRNA] to change the DNA of a person is not possible.

Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine will have long-term side effects.

Fact: As of right now, there is no evidence to suggest that the COVID-19 vaccine has any long-term side effects. There are ongoing studies to monitor for any possible long-term side effects, but there have not been any that have become known as of yet. We do know there are long-term side effects from getting COVID-19, including chronic fatigue, chronic breathing issues, etc. [The COVID-19] vaccine is going to be monitored closely for quite some time to look for any types of long-term side effects. Again, as of right now, there is no evidence to support this claim.

Found in: COVID-19 Wellness