With COVID-19 (the disease caused by coronavirus) continuing to spread quickly, researchers are racing to create a vaccine to help keep people safe.
Although creating a new vaccine can sometimes take years, many pharmaceutical companies are advancing research and clinical trials quickly. This means it’s possible that the first version of a coronavirus vaccine could be available in the coming months.
However, many people feel skeptical about the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness. And according to a recent poll, only half of American adults say they plan to get vaccinated once a vaccine is approved.
Let’s take a look at some of the more common coronavirus vaccine myths and get down to the facts for your peace of mind so when it’s your turn, you get your shot and encourage their shot.
Myth: The vaccine process is moving too fast and skipping important safety factors.
Truth: Because COVID-19 is considered a public health emergency, vaccine manufacturers may choose to submit a request for an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) before receiving approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
To issue an EUA, it needs to be proven that the vaccine may be effective in preventing a serious or life-threatening condition, and that the vaccine’s known and potential benefits can outweigh its known and potential risks.
The FDA has said that for a COVID-19 vaccine to be administered to the public, they will only issue an EUA if a vaccine has demonstrated clear and compelling effectiveness in a large Phase 3 clinical trial.
Myth: The vaccine will give you COVID-19.
Truth: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), none of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in development here in the United States use the live virus that causes COVID-19.
When someone gets the vaccine in the future, it’s possible that they may experience symptoms, such as a fever, because the goal of the vaccine is to teach the immune system how to recognize and fight the virus. It usually takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination.
Myth: If you’ve already had COVID-19, the vaccine won’t make a difference.
Truth: People may be advised to get a vaccine even if they have already been sick with COVID-19 because of the severe health risks and the possibility of re-infection.
Without extensive research, it’s yet to be determined how long someone is protected from getting coronavirus again after they’ve already had the virus once. The natural immunity someone builds after having COVID-19 can vary from person to person.
Until the vaccine is fully developed and experts can see more data, it’s unknown how soon someone can become re-infected by COVID-19. So, it’s best to get the vaccine when it’s available.
Myth: The flu vaccine can help protect against coronavirus, too.
Fact: Getting a flu shot will not protect you against coronavirus.
Getting your flu shot is more important than ever since the flu vaccine will help protect you from getting the flu and COVID-19 at the same time. The flu and coronavirus symptoms look similar in a lot of cases, so knowing you can protect against one of these illnesses may make diagnosis and treatment easier.
Staying Safe Until a Vaccine Is Available
Until a vaccine is widely available, basic steps like social distancing and wearing a mask are the best ways to protect yourself and everyone around you. Also, continue to practice the safety steps you already know, like:
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces daily
- Getting your annual flu shot
- Staying at least 6 feet apart from anyone outside your household
- Washing your hands often with soap and water or using sanitizer often
- Wearing a mask that covers your mouth and nose when around others
We’re Here to Keep You and Your Family Safe
As more information on COVID-19 treatments becomes available, we’ll keep you informed. Stay up to date by visiting the Coronavirus Resource Hub.