Myth: This is a new vaccine that will cause our DNA to mutate.
Facts: While mRNA viruses are new to us, they are not new to researchers. Over the past decade with the emergence of zika virus and other viruses, researchers started working on mRNA vaccines since this emerging technology has many advantages and ongoing data is still being collected.
Myth: The vaccine is not safe. They are going to inject us with COVID-19 virus.
Facts: The trials show that the vaccine is safe – since it is not a viral subunit or a live attenuated (weakened) virus there is less risk of infection. Also, the mRNA vaccines are more targeted, making them more specific. mRNA vaccines have no potential risk of insertional mutagenesis (does not insert into our DNA). What does that mean? It is degraded by normal cellular processes and it can be targeted and regulated. The existing research shows that modifications can make the mRNA stable and easy for our body to translate into proteins and in the case of covid-19 the vaccine leads to making spike proteins. These mimics the proteins found on the surface of the coronavirus.
Myth: If I already had COVID-19 then I do not need the vaccine.
Facts: We do not know how long the immunity (protection from antibodies) will last because the vaccine and the disease have not been around long enough to get data to be able to determine this. This is not the same as chicken pox. The risk of death and severe disease is great, so it is best to protect yourself from illness. Since so many people are asymptomatic, waiting for symptoms is not a good way to determine who should quarantine. Wear your mask. The data shows that most cases are in 18-35 age group, but the disease can impact people of all ages, but the highest rate of death is in those 75 and older.
Myth: There are two vaccines, and one is better than the other.
Facts: Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are mRNA vaccines. There is very little difference to the patient but to the health system there are differences in how the vaccine is stores by the health systems.