True or Not? Debunking 5 Myths About the COVID-19 Vaccine
With a whopping number of daily 4-digit cases of COVID-19 occurring daily, Malaysia is geared up towards taking the next big step in ensuring the wellbeing of the citizens. The Ministry of Health has prepared the National COVID-19 Immunization Programme Plan in which the first batch of vaccines consisting of almost 13 million doses is expected to be supplied by the end of February 2021. This would cover the needs of 20% of the Malaysian population.
However, there are still a large number of people still sceptical in regards to the usage of the vaccine. Some of you might have also come across widespread claims, or myths, about it that makes you question it yourself. Therefore, we hope to be able to shed light on these myths and their validity through this article. We have also included sources at the end for those who would love to learn more on the COVID-19 vaccine issue in Malaysia.
MYTH #1: “Vaccines are unnecessary.”
This widespread message that has circulated in Malaysia itself originated from a statement by former Pfizer’s vice president asserting that people all over the world would be acquiring natural herd immunity to the disease already, so why bother getting vaccinated?
FACT: Vaccination is needed for 60-70% Malaysians in order to reach herd immunity.
This would mean 20-23 million of the population needs to be vaccinated for the disease to be controlled. As the vaccine has undergone clinical trials and proven to be effective in reducing the rate of the virus spreading and managing the symptoms, it’s safe to say that more countless lives are not worth sacrificing for the sake of just waiting it out until a natural herd immunity is achieved.
MYTH #2: “The COVID-19 vaccine will alter a person’s DNA.”
This assumption was made as the first COVID-19 vaccines to be procured to the public would be messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines. mRNA is used in the body cell to synthesize proteins.
FACT: False, mRNA vaccines do not do anything to the DNA.
They cannot go through the cell’s nucleus which contains our DNA and thus will not have any interaction with it. Additionally, the mRNA is naturally broken down and disposed of by the human cells soon after it has provided instructions for protein synthesis.
MYTH #3: “Serious side effects come with the COVID-19 vaccines.”
Sceptics have used this argument even directly in the presence of the Ministry of Health to question the safety of its use.
FACT: Short-term symptoms are common and show your immune system is responding to the vaccine.
Early phase studies of various COVID-19 vaccines have proven that they are safe. Only about 15% of the people tested had short-lived symptoms such as chills and fatigue that resolved within a day or two without serious complications.
MYTH #4: “If you want to get the COVID-19 vaccine you can’t get vaccines for other diseases.”
This is a worry as some might foresee taking precautions from other diseases as well and wonder if the COVID-19 vaccine might stop them from doing so.
FACT: You can get vaccinated for other diseases but with a time gap between them.
One has to wait for at least 14 days after being vaccinated for other purposes before getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Afterwards, there needs to be another at least 28 days after the second dosage of the COVID-19 vaccine is taken before one can be vaccinated again from other diseases.
MYTH #5: “With the vaccines available, there’s no need to wear a face mask.”
If everyone can get the COVID-19 vaccine in the future, face masks would be unnecessary and redundant to protect oneself right?
FACT: Wrong. Face masks are still a necessity.
While the COVID-19 vaccine definitely will reduce the chances of one getting the disease, no vaccine can offer complete protection as it is still unknown whether the virus can still be transmitted to others even when the person vaccinated is safe from it. Additionally, it will take time for everyone who wants to be vaccinated to get it as even in Malaysia the first batch of vaccines will only be expected to arrive at the end of next month. Hence until the majority of the population can be vaccinated, taking precautions including complying with the SOPs such as physical distancing and wearing high quality face masks are a must.
One such high-quality face mask aimed to ensure your safety is ShieldZilla Essentials’ MACSH Face Mask that not only incorporates cutting edge technology from Switzerland to inhibit viruses and bacteria growth but also optimizes maximum comfort and breathability for its users. Other features include it being able to last up to 30 handwashes, having adjustable earloops and consisting of 3 layers that have antimicrobial as well as water-repellant characteristics.
Thus, here we have compiled a list of 5 myths regarding the COVID-19 vaccine debunked. It needs to be reiterated that while Malaysia goes through the necessary steps to flatten the curve, we should be responsible citizens and adhere to the SOPs. If the situation calls for you to leave the house, you know where to find a high-quality face mask that is designed to ensure your utmost safety and comfort.