As an exhausting 2020 comes to a close, the roll-out of the Pfizer/BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine offers a much-needed reprieve and hope for a world ravaged by a deadly pandemic. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is also discussing the Emergency Use Authorization of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine as well. While there is much excitement about the availability of these vaccines and the expectation that they provide for an end to this pandemic, they are also met with intense skepticism.
For many, there are questions regarding the speed at which these vaccines were developed and if they can be trusted for efficacy. According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, “The process of the speed did not compromise at all safety nor did it compromise scientific integrity. It is a reflection of the extraordinary scientific advances in these types of vaccines which allow us to do things in months that took us years before.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) explains that vaccines are safe and are developed to protect everyone in the community. The aim is to reach the concept of “community immunity” otherwise called “herd immunity.” The concept is simple if enough people are onboard according to HHS, “Germs can travel quickly through a community and make a lot of people sick. If enough people get sick, it can lead to an outbreak. But when enough people are vaccinated against a certain disease, the germs can’t travel as easily from person to person – and the entire community is less likely to get the disease.”
There are some common myths being circulated regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) dispels a few with the following facts:
- You will not get the COVID-19 virus from the COVID-19 vaccine. The goal of the current vaccines is to teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. None of these vaccines use the live virus that causes COVID-19.
- Your DNA will not be altered by the mRNA vaccine. “mRNA stands for messenger ribonucleic acid and can most easily be described as instructions for how to make a protein or even just a piece of a protein. mRNA is not able to alter or modify a person’s genetic makeup (DNA). The mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enter the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA are kept.”
- COVID-19 vaccines will not cause you to test positive on COVID-19 viral tests – The goal of the vaccination is for your body to develop an immune response to the vaccine. There is a possibility that you may test positive on some antibody tests, indicating that you had a previous infection. However, the presently available vaccines will not cause you to test positive on viral tests, which indicate that you are currently infected.
Due to the initial limited supply, the COVID-19 vaccines are only being offered to healthcare personnel and residents of long-term care facilities. As the supply increases in the coming weeks and months, HHS states that, “Once vaccine is widely available, the plan is to have several thousand vaccination providers offering COVID-19 vaccines in doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals, and federally qualified health centers.”
To speak with a healthcare provider to assess any non-emergency health concerns, including suspected COVID-19 symptoms, please call (305)751-1500 for our Miami-Dade clinic or (954)289-0000 for our Broward clinic. For life-threatening emergencies, always call 911. For coronavirus updates and resources, please visit our website at www.primarymed.com.