Are you anxious about “dangerous” COVID-19 vaccine side effects? Wondering if women have different rules when it comes to the vaccine? The rumour mill in India has been churning out misinformation and baseless myths, especially during the second wave of the pandemic. From social media platforms to WhatsApp forwards, the fear and reckless abandonment of scientific backing are evident in the myths being propagated. While rumours about celebrities and memes can be taken with a pinch of salt, the ones about healthcare at such a critical time can induce panic. It’s vital to bust these myths, especially about the COVID-19 vaccinations, and share the science-backed truths to help India decrease the spread of the coronavirus.
6 Myths About The COVID-19 Vaccines, Busted
Here are 6 myths that are circulating around the internet about the COVID-19 vaccinations and facts that debunk them.
Myth 1: The Vaccines Are Dangerous
It’s natural to feel a little sceptical about putting something new into your body, but there’s an abundance of evidence that the vaccine is safe. The vaccines can cause side effects, like tiredness, achiness, and fever, but the vast majority last only a day or two and aren’t serious or dangerous. Side effects are actually normal signs that the vaccine is working and your body is building protection.
Just like babies get a fever or an upset stomach after their vaccinations, any new vaccine will have minor side effects. Remember, not everyone will experience side effects, and that’s okay too. Vaccines are safe and effective. You should consult your doctor if you have any queries regarding them.
Myth 2: The Covid-19 Vaccine Causes Infertility
There is zero evidence to support that the COVID-19 vaccine can cause infertility. It is being rroneously claimed that the vaccine contains a spike protein called syncytin-1 that is vital for the human placenta in women. To be sure, syncytin-1 is vital for the human placenta. Destruction of this protein would disrupt its formation, leading to infertility or miscarriage. But the claim that Covid-19 vaccines either contain syncyntin-1 or the message to generate antibodies to it is false.
Fertility myths are rampant, and experts in the field are constantly being called upon to discredit baseless claims. The claim that the Covid-19 vaccine causes infertility must be added to the long list of those that warrant debunking.
Myth 3: Don’t Get Vaccinated On Your Period As You Have Low Immunity
Gynaecologist & Obstetrician Dr Neha Bothara of Fortis Hiranandani Hospital, Mumbai shares her expert medical opinion, debunking this baseless myth.
“A woman’s menstrual cycle is a normal physiological phenomenon. It does not in any way or form affect her immunity or response to drugs or vaccines. Baseless and misleading messages have been circulating in social media that covid vaccine cannot be administered during menstruation. We must emphasize that these messages have no scientific basis. No one should be denied vaccination on the basis of such rumours.”
Myth 4: You Don’t Have To Continue Wearing Masks After You Get The Covid-19 Vaccine
This is based in half-truths. You absolutely still have to wear masks and social distance. Those who have received their full vaccinations – that means two shots of the vaccine, followed by the appropriate waiting periods for each to kick in – can stop wearing masks in this situation:
- You’re indoors with other fully vaccinated people
Resrachers stress that it’s still important to wear masks in public and when you’re gathering with unvaccinated people from more than one household. Why? It’s not known at this point whether you can pass on the virus to others after you’ve been vaccinated and how effective the vaccines are against all variants of the virus.
Myth 5: Vaccines Shouldn’t Be Given To Patients With Preexisting Conditions
Another myth that’s currently circulating is that patients with diabetes, blood pressure disorders, HIV, kidney problems, cancer survivors shouldn’t be vaccinated. The vaccine will not hurt these people since it doesn’t contain a live virus. Those with suppressed immune systems will still get protection from COVID-19, just not as much protection as those with healthy immune systems. And the best thing to do is to ask your doctor and get your queries resolved by an expert.
Myth 6: You Can’t Take The Vaccine If You Are Pregnant Or Breastfeeding
There’s no need to get a pregnancy test before getting vaccinated, nor do you need to avoid pregnancy after vaccination. If pregnant, you’re eligible for all authorized vaccines. You should talk with your doctor if you have any questions, but it’s not required before vaccination. Scientific data has demonstrated the safety of the vaccines in patients with pregnancies.
If you’re pregnant and in a group that should be urgently vaccinated, like a healthcare worker, you should get vaccinated. If you’re concerned about the risks versus the benefits, talk to your doctor. But medical professionals know that pregnant women who contract viruses can have complications or pass diseases to their babies, and the same goes for breastfeeding. Since the vaccine is not a live virus, you can’t pass anything to the baby.
Vaccination is important for two reasons:
- Individual protection as vaccination will prevent, if not reduce the severity of new COVID illness
- It will also help develop herd immunity, if 80% of our population is vaccinated, the COVID19 pandemic might be under control
With the lowering of the eligibility age to 18 years old, India is expected to flatten the curve of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic soon. Experts urge everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated at the earliest. And in the meanwhile, mask up, stay indoors and practise social distancing.
Disclaimer: This information is as per Indian guidelines and subject to change.