COVID-19 Vaccines: Differentiating Between Myth and Reality
As we marked the one year anniversary since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, it is interesting how much has changed in one year. At this time last year, citizens were unaware of the danger posed by the disease that would end up killing millions worldwide. Now vaccines have been developed to combat the virus and are being distributed and administered.
However, there have been many myths surrounding whether the vaccine is safe to be taken. Let us take a look at some of the myths.
1) There are severe side effects of the vaccine
Although there are side effects, they are not enough to be severe — this is indicated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among others. Often, those who have taken the vaccine report having flu-like symptoms, such as headache, muscle pain, and fever. I myself was unaware to the extent of symptoms following the vaccine until I heard of experiences from local family members, friends, and teachers taking the vaccine. They reported limited to no side effects after the first dose, and more mild symptoms after the second dose, which disappeared after a day of flu-like symptoms.
2) There is no need to wear a mask after having been vaccinated for COVID-19
Public health guidance indicates that there is still a dire need to wear masks, especially as it is still unknown how great the rate of transmission of COVID-19 is. In addition, as seen by the delays in vaccine distribution administration, it will take a while for a large part of the population to be vaccinated which is crucial towards limiting exposure and transmission of the virus.
3) The COVID-19 vaccines are unsafe to take due to their expedited approval
Despite the vaccines having been authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration, such as the Pfizer vaccine, they are still required to undergo clinical trials and an independent committee in the FDA reviews them to determine its safety. Thus, the vaccines still undergo stringent tests and are safe to receive.
4) There is no need to socially distance after receiving the vaccine
Although it seems that receiving the vaccine provides more protection from the coronavirus, this is not encouraged, especially by top health experts such as Dr. Anthony Fauci. “We don’t want people to think that just because they’re vaccinated that other public health recommendations just don’t apply,” Fauci said. It is still unknown whether the vaccine is equally effective for everyone, and how much the protection varies. Further, the long-term effectiveness of the vaccines are still unknown, so it is all the more important to continue adhering to social distancing guidelines as the vaccine is administered across the country.
5) The reported number of COVID-19 related deaths is artificially higher than the actual number of deaths, and the disease is being overplayed as being extremely dangerous.
Statistics from the CDC indicate that the majority of those who had COVID-19 and died as a result, could have lived for far longer had they not contracted it. The CDC states that “For deaths with conditions or causes in addition to COVID-19, on average, there were 2.6 additional conditions or causes per death.”
6) There are no long-term effects of COVID-19
Studies show that COVID-19 patients are impacted beyond the duration of their illness. Many patients face pulmonary complications such as having chronic shortness of breath. Other complications include chronic fatigue, difficulty concentrating and performing mental tasks. Patients who did recover from the illness were shown to “have a substantially high proportion of cardiovascular abnormalities”, according to Dr. Fauci.
Taking the vaccine is an important step in the right direction. In fact, aside from political and medical leaders, spiritual leaders have also encouraged taking practical steps towards recovery. The worldwide head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad has explained an instance when the community’s second Caliph became sick, and took traditional medicine. Afterwards, he took allopathic medicine and homeopathic medicine. When asked as to why he had taken all three medications, he responded, “These medicines are simply treatment, they are not God; who knows what will be the cause of restoring my health, therefore I have taken all three.” This indicates that Islam does support receiving treatment for illnesses, including vaccinations.
Based upon the large body of evidence, receiving the vaccine is an effective step towards protecting against the coronavirus. Although the distribution of the vaccine has been slow, with time, there is hope that the vaccines will be distributed to all, and it will assist in the eventual victory against the pandemic.