COVID Vaccines: Fact vs. Myth

August 27, 2021

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(This article first appeared in the September-October issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

COVID-19 is deadly and is continuing to quickly spread with the "Delta" variant. Cases, hospitalizations and deaths are rising. The APWU strongly encourages our members to voluntarily get vaccinated, if they have not already done so.

The information shared below is taken largely from Johns Hopkins Medicine. None of this is medical advice, which you should receive from your medical provider.

MYTH: Researchers rushed the development of the COVID-19 vaccine, so its effectiveness and safety cannot be trusted.

FACT: Studies found that the two initial vaccines are both about 95% effective — and reported no serious or life-threatening side effects. There are many reasons why the COVID-19 vaccines could be developed so quickly:

• The COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna were created with a method that has been in development for years, so the companies could start the vaccine development process early in the pandemic.

• The vaccine developers didn’t skip any testing steps, but conducted some of the steps on an overlapping schedule to gather data faster.

• Vaccine projects had plenty of financial resources, as governments invested in research and/or paid for vaccines in advance.

• Because COVID-19 is so contagious and widespread, it did not take long to see if the vaccine worked for the study volunteers who were vaccinated.

MYTH: Getting the COVID-19 vaccine gives you COVID-19.

FACT: The COVID-19 vaccine does not contain the SARS-Co-2 virus, so you cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine. It helps your immune system recognize and fight the virus.

MYTH: The side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine are dangerous.

FACT: The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine can have side effects, which are very short term — not serious or dangerous. Some people experience pain where they were injected, body aches, headaches or fever, lasting for a day or two. These are signs that the vaccine is working to stimulate your immune system. If symptoms persist beyond two days, you should call your doctor. In April 2021, the CDC temporarily paused and then resumed use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Read more at If you have allergies or other notable medical conditions — especially severe ones that require you to carry an EpiPen — discuss the COVID-19 vaccine with your doctor.

MYTH: The COVID-19 vaccine enters your cells and changes your DNA.

FACT: The messenger RNA from two of the first types of COVID-19 vaccines does enter cells, but not the nucleus of the cells where DNA resides. The mRNA does its job to cause the cell to make a protein to stimulate the immune system, and then it quickly breaks down — without touching your DNA.

MYTH: The messenger RNA technology used to make the COVID-19 vaccine is brand new.

FACT: The mRNA technology behind the new coronavirus vaccines has been in development for almost two decades.

MYTH: If I’ve already had COVID-19, I don’t need a vaccine.

FACT: Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that reinfection with COVID-19 is possible, people are generally advised to get a COVID-19 vaccine even if they have been sick with COVID-19 before.

MYTH: The vaccine places a microchip in our bodies with which our activities can be tracked and monitored.

FACT: This is a conspiracy theory spread through social media and has no basis in fact.

MYTH: Since there are a significant number of “breakthrough” COVID-19 infections among those who have been vaccinated, the vaccine is not effective and not worth getting.

FACT: The more transmissible “Delta” variant now makes up 98% of the new infections in the U.S. With its spread has come more “breakthrough” cases. But, the vaccine is proving very effective in keeping people from developing more severe cases. 95% of COVID hospitalizations are patients who were not vaccinated. Almost all recent deaths are among the unvaccinated.

On Aug. 23, the FDA fully approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for adults. It is no longer under "emergency use authorization" status.

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