A Dose of Truth: COVID-19 Vaccine Myths: What Orange County Residents Need to Know
As doses of the COVID-19 vaccine become more available, they bring the promise of global relief from the pandemic. Unfortunately, there has been a lot of misinformation surrounding the vaccine and its development.
Here are some myths and correlating facts about the vaccine:
Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine is unsafe because it was developed so quickly.
Fact: Although it was developed in record time, the vaccine has gone through FDA’s rigorous process to meet all safety standards. No steps were skipped or shortcuts were taken, and the vaccine is proven safe and effective.
When there is an emergency, such as a global pandemic, the FDA can issue an emergency use authorization (EUA) to provide more timely access to critical medical interventions … such was the case in developing the COVID-19 vaccine.
Myth: I have already had COVID-19, so I do not need the vaccine.
Fact: If you have already had COVID-19, you should still get the vaccine; you may just need to delay it. Current evidence suggests that immunity following a COVID-19 infection lasts at least 90 days. For that reason, the CDC suggests you delay getting vaccinated until this period of natural immunity has ended.
Myth: I do not need to wear a mask or social distance after I receive the vaccine.
Fact: Although the CDC says in certain situations fully vaccinated people can gather without masks, you must still protect others by wearing your mask. Experts caution that until scientists can definitively say that the vaccine also prevents you from spreading COVID to others, you still need to mask up, keep your distance from others, wash your hands often and use other smart prevention strategies. We must continue all of our present safety measures to decrease the spread until we have reached a level of immunity within the community where the virus has no place to go.
Myth: The vaccine does not protect against the newer super spreader strains of the virus.
Fact: Research has shown that the proteins in the new strains are 99.99 percent the same as the original version, which means there is a strong chance the vaccine will also work against them. Current evidence states that the vaccine protects against the new strains.
Myth: I do not need to get the vaccine because advances in medical care – such as plasma therapy and other treatments – have progressed, and COVID-19 can easily be treated.
Fact: Although medical experts have learned more about COVID-19 and advancements in treatments have occurred, you still need to get the vaccine, which is the surest way to prevent contracting the virus. The benefits of new therapies have been modest, so the vaccine is by far the best strategy.
Myth: Since the vaccines are now available, the pandemic will be over soon.
Fact: According to the Florida Department of Health in Orange County, in order to achieve “herd immunity” – which means the disease is no longer likely to spread – about 79 percent of Orange County’s population will need to be vaccinated. In fact, it may be more than 79 percent if we find that the virus variants become more prevalent. Due to the amount of residents who still need to be vaccinated, getting to that 79 percent mark will take quite a long time.
Myth: I will become COVID-19 positive once I get the vaccine.
Fact: You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine because the vaccine contains no live corona virus whatsoever. The vaccine works by stimulating your body to produce immunity. This allows your body to identify foreign elements (virus) and make antibodies to fight against it. Therefore, the vaccine works because it primes your immune system to recognize and fight off a disease, but it does not cause an infection.
Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine causes severe side effects.
Fact: Like all vaccines, severe side effects can occur, but these are extremely rare. The most reported side effects are similar to those experienced with other vaccines and include injection-site soreness, fatigue and body aches. Experiencing these side effects means your immune system is responding to the vaccine and creating antibodies against COVID-19. Vaccine providers are observing people with a history of anaphylaxis for 30 minutes and all other individuals for 15 minutes after receiving the shot.
Myth: The vaccine is too new, and I am not comfortable with having anyone in my family take it.
Fact: The vaccines have been tested thoroughly and are safe. Residents should educate themselves with trustworthy and credible information from the CDC. Be wary of false and potentially harmful misinformation on the Internet or hearsay from gossip. Get the facts from reliable information sources and make an informed, educated decision for yourself.
Myth: COVID-19’s survival rate is high; therefore I do not need the vaccine.
Fact: Although the virus kills a higher percentage of our most vulnerable population (e.g., older and those with underlying health issues), if you are not vaccinated you could still pass on the virus to someone who might be severely affected or die from the virus. The virus has also killed young, healthy people and children. At this point, we still do not understand the possible long-term health issues that COVID-19 might cause to anyone who has had the disease.
Myth: I can die from an allergic reaction to the vaccine.
Fact: There is a very remote chance the vaccine could cause an allergic reaction in some people within an hour of receiving the shot, but such reactions are likely to be mild and not life-threatening. Vaccine providers observe people with a history of anaphylaxis for 30 minutes and all other individuals for 15 minutes after receiving the shot. The vaccines have been successfully given to millions of individuals in the United States and around the world.
Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine includes a microchip tracking device.
Fact: An inaccurate video circulating on social media falsely claims that vaccines for COVID-19 have a microchip that “tracks the location of the patient.” There is no microchip in the vaccine.
Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine causes infertility in women.
Fact: There is simply no evidence or even a credible theory to come to this conclusion. Much of this misinformation is spread via inaccurate information on social media.
Myth: I received the flu vaccine, so I do not need the COVID-19 vaccine.
Fact: False. The flu vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine are completely different vaccines, and must be administered separately.
Myth: If a COVID-19 vaccine requires two doses, I only really need one dose.
Fact: False. You need both doses, if required by that particular vaccine, for full immunity. The first dose, depending on the brand, only provides partial protection.
Myth: The Florida Department of Health in Orange County (DOH-Orange) vaccination site at the Convention Center is throwing away unused vaccine doses at the end of the day.
Fact: The Florida Department of Health in Orange County carefully plans the number of vaccines drawn and ready for residents to be vaccinated so none will be discarded.
The staff monitors the schedule each day and double checks the number of vaccine doses that are drawn. It has been a very successful approach. However, if there are any remaining doses and no patients are at the drive-through at the end of a shift, the doses are put into the arms of DOH-Orange staff. Some doses have had to be discarded, but that is due to issues with damaged needles and it has been a minimal problem. DOH-Orange requests that no one show up at the site for “extra” doses at the end of the day as this is an appointment-only site.
For more information, visit ocfl.net/vaccine.
Download a condensed version of these FAQs for printing: