With the anticipation of the COVID 19 vaccine arrival in Nigeria, there are so many questions and uncertainties about the vaccine. Is it safe? Does this mean we can stop wearing out masks? Will it affect fertility or change our DNA? Let’s discuss some common myths surrounding the COVID 19 vaccine.
MYTH: Getting the COVID 19 vaccine means we can stop wearing masks and taking precautions.
FACT: the vaccine will not stop the virus from entering your body; it will only prevent you from developing moderate to severe COVID 19 infection. People vaccinated for COVID 19 may still carry, transmit, and infect others with the virus, even when they themselves are not sick. When you get the vaccine, please keep your mask on, and continue staying at least 6 feet from people to avoid transmitting the virus to others who may not have been vaccinated. We need to do this until more people get the vaccine or we have more information.
MYTH: The COVID 19 vaccine gives you COVID 19 infection.
FACT: The vaccine for COVID 19 cannot give you COVID 19. The vaccines instruct your cells to reproduce a protein that is part of the COVID 19 virus, which helps your body recognize and fight the virus, if it enters your body. The vaccine does not contain the virus, so you cannot get COVID 19 from being vaccinated. The protein that helps your immune system recognize and fight the virus does not cause infection.
MYTH: The COVID 19 vaccine will enter your cells and change your DNA.
FACT: The vaccines available now are designed to help your body’s immune system fight the coronavirus. The messenger RNA from the COVID-19 vaccines enters the cells, but not the part where DNA is located. It causes the cell to make protein to stimulate the immune system, and then it breaks down, without affecting your DNA.
MYTH: The side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine are life threatening.
FACT: The COVID 19 vaccine can have side effects, but mostly mild. The vaccine developers report that some people experience pain where they were injected; body aches; headaches or fever, lasting for a day or two. These are signs that the vaccine is working to stimulate your immune system. If you have allergies, discuss the COVID 19 vaccine with your doctor, who can provide you with more information.
MYTH: I have already had COVID 19, I don’t need a vaccine.
FACT: People who have gotten sick with COVID-19 may still benefit from getting vaccinated, because re-infection with COVID 19 is possible, people may be advised to get the COVID 19 vaccine even if they have been infected before. There is currently not enough information available to say if people are protected from getting COVID-19 after they have had it. The evidence suggests natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last very long. More investigation is ongoing on this.
MYTH: The development of the vaccine was rushed, so its effectiveness and safety cannot be trusted.
FACT: Studies found that the vaccines currently available are about 95% effective — and reported no serious or life-threatening side effects.
It is important to note that scientists all over the world are working hard, around the clock, so we can go back to interacting safely, without the threat of developing severe Covid 19 infection.
Dr Monisola Adanijo FMCP a Cardiologist and the Medical Director at Naveen Healthcare.
With experience spanning over 20 years, she built her pathway in medicine and cardiology working in reputable medical centres such as Mecure Healthcare Limited, Barnes Hospital, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Chevron Hospital, Lagos to mention but a few.
Her passion for preventive cardiology led her to convene the Naveen Healthcare 10,000 Hearts Project, in order to help individuals detect, protect and correct cardiovascular diseases.
As a Continuous Medical Education (CME) provider, she has worked with the likes of Trigen Healthcare Solutions, Pfizer GP Academy, Diamond Helix Medical Assistance, Pfizer Pharmacy Academy, Global Health Project and Resources, Sanofi-Aventis Nigeria, Novartis Nigeria and Servier International. She has helped build capacity in Electrocardiogram interpretation, preventive cardiovascular diseases, management of heart failure, patient education and more.
She launched the first TeleElectrocardiogram project in Nigeria and West Africa and does her part in contributing to good health and wellbeing, a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG3) of the United Nations.