Busting the myths around vaccination

Busting the myths around vaccination
  • The author of this article is Dr. Saranya Narayan, Chief Technical Director, Neuberg Diagnostics.

With the risk of COVID still looming large, post recovery conditions and other health hazards, it is important to get vaccinated in order to prevent spread of the virus. Vaccination is the way out of the COVID-19 situation, that India has landed in. Vaccines trigger an immune response within the body and protect us from getting a severe infection, even if we get infected. Hence, one should not delay getting vaccinated. Here are some myths regarding COVID – 19 vaccines that we are hear about  today :

1. WE can stop wearing masks:

Not true . Even if people have been vaccinated against the coronavirus, masking is essential. COVID-19 precautions and requirements must be followed by everyone, including those who have been vaccinated. The mask protects you and your family from infection with the Covid 19 Virus.

2. Vaccination in people with co-morbidities may not be safe :

Not true. COVID-19 vaccines are safe for most persons aged 18 and up, including those with any type of pre-existing ailment such as auto-immune illnesses, hypertension, diabetes, asthma, lung, liver, and kidney illness.People who have chronic conditions and are stable with treatment can also be vaccinated. 

3. COVID-19 testing after vaccination cause positive test results:

Incorrect. The COVID-19 vaccine does not result in a positive RT PCR  test for COVID-19. The test looks for the presence of viral RNA in the early stage of a current infection. The vaccine introduces a part of the viral protein or a killed whole virus,  and this stimulates our body to produce antibodies against the SARS – CoV 2 virus. This antibody can be identified about 4-6 weeks after the second dose of vaccine is taken and assesses if a person has developed sufficient immunity against the virus.

4. Different second dose of vaccine than first is safe:

Studies are being conducted to see if different vaccines can be used for each dose. There isn’t enough evidence to endorse any combination just yet.

5. Vaccination after having COVID-19 is not required:

Even if you’ve had COVID-19 before, you should be vaccinated. The level of protection provided by COVID-19 varies from person to person, and we don’t know how long natural immunity will continue. A person who has recovered from Covid 19 infection can wait for 3 months and then get vaccinated.

6. Vaccine does not protect against COVID variants:

More research is needed to determine how effective the current COVID vaccines are against the mutations. As of now, studies in US, Canada and the UK have found that most current vaccines elicit adequate protection against most variants, to the extent of protection against severe disease, hospitalisation and death.  

7. Is vaccination safe for children ?:

Covid-19 vaccines are evaluated in adults first and only when their safety has been established in adults, can they be attempted in children. The vaccines are being researched in children now that they have been confirmed to be safe for adults. A recent trial in US has shown that the vaccine is very effective at preventing COVID 19 infection in children in the 12-15  age group. 

8. Side effects after taking COVID -19 vaccine are severe:

The side effects of the vaccine are similar to those after any other vaccine like a flu shot or a tetanus toxoid vaccine. Most commonly mild fever, headache, chills, pain and swelling  at the site of injection, fatigue , occasionally gastritis and diarrhoea. These may last for up to 2-3 days. Some people do not have any side effects, while very rarely (less than 1 in 100000) may have severe allergic reactions or blood clots.  

9. Effect on women’s fertility and pregnancy:

There is no scientific basis or evidence available for this myth currently.  The Covid vaccines currently available induce an antibody response against the spike protein of the SARS-CoV2 virus and hence in no way, is the reproductive function interfered with. In an ongoing study, around 2.5% of the participants who had received the vaccine, conceived during the trial period.

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