ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has now approved the emergency use of two COVID-19 vaccines, one from Pfizer and Moderna. There has been widespread misinformation, inaccuracies, and bold lies surrounding both vaccines in abundance on the internet.
Some people could be apprehensive about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines. Research is still being conducted about the virus as well as the vaccines. The FDA is working hard to dispel misinformation surrounding the vaccines which, as with all vaccines approved by the FDA, had to meet rigorous requirements.
Myth: The vaccine isn’t safe because of how fast it was created
Despite its relatively quick creation and emergency approval, both the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines had to meet the FDA’s vaccine criteria which include a clinical trial. Between both vaccines, almost 70,000 people participated in the clinical trials. Before a vaccine is approved for emergency use, non-clinical, clinical, and manufacturing information is reviewed by a data safety monitoring board, according to the FDA.
COVID-19 vaccines are undergoing a rigorous development process that includes tens of thousands of study participants to generate the needed non-clinical, clinical, and manufacturing data. FDA will undertake a comprehensive evaluation of this information submitted by a vaccine manufacturer.FDA
Some people may be questioning whether the requirements to approve a vaccine on an emergency basis are as stringent as the non-emergency approval. The FDA said COVID-19 vaccines were evaluated to make sure the benefits outweigh the risks, just as with any other vaccine submitted to them for approval.
As they would any other vaccine, the FDA will continue to monitor those vaccinated for severe side effects, hospitalizations, and death. The FDA also said it expects drug manufacturers issued emergency use for COVID-19 vaccines to continue collecting data for future approval.
Myth: COVID-19 vaccines can cause people to have serious side effects like Bell’s Palsy
The most common side effect for the Pfizer vaccine was an injection site reaction, 84.1%. The most common side effect for the Moderna vaccine was injection site pain, 91.6%. A total of seven people, out of the more than 60,000 who participated in the vaccine clinical trials, experienced Bell’s Palsy. Four in the Pfizer and three in the Moderna clinical trial.
Patients with Bell’s Palsy experience weakness in their facial muscles. Symptoms in most patients are temporary and improve within a couple of weeks, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Myth: People with underlying health conditions shouldn’t get vaccinated
Individuals with underlying health conditions or comorbidities are susceptible to severe complications from COVID-19. Because of this vulnerability, the CDC recommends individuals living in long-term care facilities get the vaccine first to protect them from the virus. The vaccine will be available to people considered high-risk, who don’t live in a long-term care facility before the rest of the general public.
New York said high-risk individuals and those over the age of 65 will be eligible to receive the vaccine in Phase Three of distribution.
Myth: People who have had COVID-19 do not need to get the vaccine
There is debate about how long an individual’s “natural immunity” lasts after getting COVID-19. The FDA, CDC, and Mayo Clinic all agree that more research is needed to determine a person’s immunity after a COVID-19 diagnosis but recommend those who have already been sick get the vaccine anyway.
Myth: Getting a COVID-19 vaccine will make people sick
Vaccines work because the body learns to recognize and fight whatever disease it’s being vaccinated against. COVID-19 vaccines help the body identify the virus in order to build the body’s immunity, or help the body fight the virus. The vaccines do not contain a “live” virus. Side effects like fever, muscle, or joint pain are signs the body is building immunity. However, a person can become infected with the virus while still building immunity, according to the CDC.
Myth: People won’t have to wear a mask or social distance after getting vaccinated
The CDC is recommending people continue to wear a mask, social distance, and wash their hands frequently, including those who have received the vaccine, until scientists have had a chance to gather more research.
Stopping a pandemic requires using all the tools available. Vaccines work with your immune system so your body will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed. Other steps, like covering your mouth and nose with a mask and staying at least 6 feet away from others, help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others. Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19.CDC
Myth: COVID-19 vaccines contain tracking microchips or “nanotransducers”
The COVID-19 vaccines do not contain tracking microchips or “nano transducers” that control the brain or can download personal information. The Mayo Clinic said this myth became active after Bill Gates referenced a “digital certificate of vaccine records.”