After a year of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are finally in the process of administering vaccines to the general Malaysian public.
But myths and misinformation about the vaccination continue to hamper immunisation efforts.
When you’re deciding whether to get the vaccine, it’s important for you to separate myths from facts.
Universiti Malaya Public Health Specialist, Dr Victor Hoe dispels some common myths, to allay your fears.
Photo via AFP
MYTH 1: The vaccine was rushed and is not safe
The vaccine was not a rushed affair. Even though the process seems to be faster compared to previous vaccine developments, all the required safety standards to ensure that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective were in place.
MYTH 2: The vaccine changes your DNA
This is not possible. Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines stimulates the immune response to produce antibodies and memory cells that will be able to protect us from the coronavirus. The mRNA never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept.
MYTH 3: The vaccine can give you COVID-19
When we are given the COVID-19 vaccine, our immune system will produce antibodies and memory cells, that will be able to protect us from the disease. People will not get the coronavirus from the vaccination, as the vaccine will only produce an immune response, and not the disease.
MYTH 4: It contains egg protein
Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines do not contain any egg protein. This means the vaccine is safe, even for those with egg allergies.
MYTH 5: It causes severe side effects
Current research has shown that all of the COVID-19 vaccines have not been found to cause severe side effects in most of the people who received them. There’s only a very small percentage of people who develop anaphylaxis after taking the vaccine (the number is between 4.5 and 18.8 per million).
MYTH 6: It makes women infertile
There’s no evidence that the vaccine will cause infertility in either women or men. The role of the vaccine is to simulate immune response towards the virus and has no effect on the DNA. All the vaccines that are being used now in Malaysia and around the world have not been shown to cause infertility.
MYTH 7: There’ll be no need for masks or social distancing after the vaccine
The vaccine protects you from getting seriously ill from the coronavirus. But it’s not known for certain if the vaccine will keep you from being infected and then transmitting the virus to others. Wearing masks, frequently washing hands and maintaining physical distance are still needed until more is known and enough of the population has been vaccinated.
Even though there's a slight risk of mild side-effects, the pros of getting vaccinated outweigh the cons
So, have some faith in science and get vaccinated against COVID-19!
by Roshini Ravindran