By Doctor L Sanjay, Internal Medicine Department, Apollo Spectra Hospital Kondapur
Hyderabad: The announcement of the roll out of the much-anticipated vaccine for COVID-19 was welcomed with mixed feelings by the global community. While the quick development of the vaccine in less than a year into the pandemic is no mean feat and celebrates the potential of the health industry in the face of a global pandemonium, the ambiguity around the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine in such a short time has also created various misgivings about the same.
With unsolicited opinions and news about the vaccine pouring in from all corners, it is critical to debunk the misinformation around it.
Medical experts across the globe are helping to advocate the efficacy of the vaccine by drawing clear disembarkation between the myths and facts associated with the vaccine. It is also important to remember that there are other rumours being circulated. We try to fight and clarify these rumours today:
Myth 1: You don’t need to wear a mask if you receive a coronavirus vaccine
Fact: There is currently no evidence to support this claim and the medical experts have neither refuted nor supported this implication. As per the experts from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there is a possibility that the immunity against COVID could be similar to that developed during measles, if you get measles once, you are immune for life. But in the case of COVID, this is still a presumption because the longevity of the immunity brought by the vaccine is yet to be ascertained. So the current suggestion by the government is to continue using masks and maintain social distance, along with hand hygiene.
Myth 2: Natural immune system is better than vaccine immunity
Fact: The World Health Organization (WHO) advises that intentionally exposing oneself to the virus can lead to more infections and be life-threatening. The medical fraternity has echoed a severe concern in this regard for the antibody level in a body against the virus varies from person to person, and which means the natural response of the immune system against the virus cannot be deemed universal.
Myth 3: If you already had Covid19, you don’t need the Vaccine
Fact: It is true that once you have an infection and recover from it, you develop natural immunity but it varies from one individual to another. There is also evidence that this type of immunity will not last very long and you might be prone to catching the infection again. The vaccine provides a number of additional benefits that one can gain and safeguard you from the prevailing infection.
Myth 4. The mRNA vaccine will alter your DNA
Fact: The mRNA vaccination is a method of eliciting a response from one’s immune system by introducing incapacitated or inactivated germs into our immune system, which in turn prompts the body to build a specific kind of protein called spike protein, which is a crucial piece to combat the coronavirus. The protein does not enter the nucleus of the cell and thus cannot affect our DNA.
Myth 5: “Herd immunity”
Fact: Herd immunity also known as population immunity is when the majority of people are immune to a disease, consequently making the spread unlikely. There are many false claims regarding herd immunity and The World Health Organization (WHO) has come forward with an explanation. Population immunity or herd immunity is the indirect protection from an infectious disease that happens when a population is immune either through vaccination or immunity developed through the previous infection.
WHO supports achieving ‘herd immunity’ through vaccination, not by allowing the disease to spread through any segment of the population, as this would result in unnecessary cases and deaths.