San Diego researchers debunk 7 common myths about the COVID-19 vaccine – .

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San Diego researchers debunk 7 common myths about the COVID-19 vaccine – .


Do you feel like you’re drowning in information about coronavirus vaccines? We cannot blame you.
Keeping up with the latest scientific advances can seem like a full-time job. This is because researchers are learning even more about COVID-19 vaccines, such as the exact duration of immune responses they elicit and the effectiveness of different vaccines against viral variants.

But all is not yet an open question. There is a lot scientists know about vaccines – and some that just don’t.

Here’s a breakdown to help you separate vaccine reality from fiction.

Myth: Because COVID-19 vaccines have not been fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration, they are experimental and not tested.

Made: Scientists did not stop at preparing these vaccines in the laboratory, hoping for the best. The researchers tested them in a series of clinical trials to make sure they were safe and effective, just as they would with any drug. The FDA emergency cleared the vaccines based on data from studies conducted on tens of thousands of volunteers from all walks of life, and approximately 200 million people in the United States have been vaccinated. Public health officials continue to monitor the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, even tracking rare diseases that may have nothing to do with injections. And while it is true that the vaccines have not been fully approved, Dr Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease expert, is hoping that will happen by the end of August.

Myth: Moderna and Pfizer vaccines change your DNA.

Made: It’s not even possible, says Dr. Mark Sawyer of Rady Children’s Hospital, an infectious disease expert who served on advisory committees that recommended that the FDA approve the two vaccines. Both vaccines use a molecule called messenger RNA which carries an extract of the genetic code of the coronavirus, which triggers an immune response against the spike protein, the molecule that allows the virus to cling to and slip into your cells. But the vaccine doesn’t suddenly and inexplicably enter your genome, or even come into contact with your DNA.

“There’s no biological reason why this should be happening,” Sawyer said. “And, again, if that were to cause a problem, even if it did happen, we would know. “

Myth: Side effects of vaccines are worse than COVID-19.

Made: Most side effects of vaccines are mild – think of a sore arm or chills. But there have been rare cases in which people have had severe blood clots; muscle paralysis and weakness; or myocarditis, inflammation of the heart muscle.

For context, some of these more serious side effects show up in less than 1 in 100,000 people. Sawyer points to an Aug. 10 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing that the number of cases of side effects is eclipsed by the thousands of infections, hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 that injections likely prevented.

“You are a thousand times more likely to end up in the hospital with COVID than to end up in the hospital with a side effect from the vaccine. “

Myth: It is better to be infected and have a “natural” immune response.

Made: While people who have had COVID-19 may have strong immune responses, the level of protection they get varies widely from person to person, according to Dennis Burton, immunologist and vaccine expert at Scripps Research. Part of the reason is that people who have had mild or asymptomatic infections are less likely to form a strong immune response. In comparison, vaccines have been designed and proven to trigger immunity in a wide range of people. And with natural infection comes a risk of hospitalization and death along with lingering side effects that researchers still don’t fully understand.

“If you look at a large population, you will definitely get better protection with the vaccine than you just let everyone get infected,” Burton said.

Myth: Vaccines will make you sterile or harm your unborn child if you are pregnant.

Made: Miscarriage rates in vaccinated women are no different from those in the general population, according to a CDC statement released Aug. 11. In addition, vaccinated mothers can pass immunity to babies by breastfeeding, which transfers antibodies to the virus through milk. In contrast, pregnant women who receive COVID-19 are more likely to end up in the intensive care unit or on a ventilator than women of the same age who are not pregnant.

“There was no higher risk of stillbirths, there was no higher risk of miscarriages. There was no difference in fertility rates, ”said Dr Cynthia Gyamfi-Bannerman, director of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at UCSD Health. “When you put it all together – including the increased risk pregnant women face when they are infected with COVID – it becomes very clear that vaccination is the safest thing. “

Myth: If you have had COVID, there is no point in getting vaccinated.

Made: There is both laboratory and real-world evidence that shows that previously infected people who get vaccinated essentially boost their immune response. Study by researchers at Rush University in Chicago shows that people who received a single dose of Pfizer’s vaccine after a previous case of COVID produced stronger antibody responses than people who had never been infected and received both Pfizer injections. And a CDC report released in early August shows that residents of Kentucky who had previously had COVID-19 and had not been vaccinated were more than twice as likely to be re-infected compared to those who had been vaccinated. .

“You’ll probably end up with one of the strongest immunities out there,” Burton said.

Myth: You’d better wait for a future vaccine that will work better than what’s currently available.

Made: It is true that vaccine makers are refining their designs to work better against viral variants. But there is a lot of evidence that the current versions are safe and very effective in preventing hospitalizations or death from COVID-19. This makes waiting for a future vaccine during an outbreak a risky strategy.

“If I could magically make a new version of the vaccine tomorrow, yes, I would wait until tomorrow or next week. But who knows how long it will take for these to come out, ”Sawyer said.

“In the meantime, we have COVID rampant. “

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