Updated: Feb 22
By Lauren Wang
Image via Valley Central
As 2020 came to an end, and people were still stuck in their houses, quarantining, wearing masks, and social distancing, scientists worldwide were getting ready to release the Covid-19 vaccine. In late summer, the companies Moderna and Pfizer were in phase III of clinical trials. By December of 2020, the first rollouts of vaccines were administered to frontline workers. As we move forward in the new year, more people are starting to get vaccinated. Further information is continually coming out about the vaccine every day, but some people are still skeptical of the vaccine.
It is always important to research to make sure what you’re putting in your body, but spreading false information and rumors is when problems start to occur. Unfortunately, many right-wingers and anti-vaxxer (those opposed to vaccinations) have been generating this inaccurate information and spreading it on social media. These are some misconceptions that have led to speculation about the Covid-19 vaccine.
“The Vaccine came out too quickly, so I don’t trust it.”
Yes, the Covid-19 vaccine came out quicker than an average drug or vaccine would. However, there’s an explanation for that statement. When the world shut down, and we were officially in a pandemic, scientists worldwide were already researching, collaborating, and coming up with a solution to contain the virus and start developing a vaccine. Scientists dropped everything to focus on the virus and the pandemic. At the beginning of the pandemic, scientists in China were already sharing information about the Covid strand with other scientists worldwide. This means that they have been working on a solution even before the pandemic was officially announced. Another fact to note is the number of volunteers during the trial runs. As the pandemic was becoming more serious, more people had an urge to help. More people were willing to volunteer to test out the vaccine in clinical trials. The sense of urgency quickened the process to a solution, the vaccine.
“The government is going to put a tracker in the vaccine.”
Long story short, the claim that the government is tracking its citizens with the vaccine is simply incorrect. The claim was spread across social media and the internet by anti-vaxxers and right-wing conservatives to fear-monger people into not trusting the government, specifically Dr. Anthony Fauci. If people were genuinely concerned about tracking and citizens’ privacy, they would be concerned about the technology that has consumed our lives. Many apps on our devices track our location, such as Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and the photos app, and people use them daily. According to the American Bar Association, our devices continuously send data to private companies because of the apps we open every day: “location data are collected by companies along with millions of other data points, commonly packaged and sold as marketing analysis to advertisers, financial institutions, real estate investors, and other third parties.” A documentary that explains the subject in further detail is the Netflix original “The Social Dilemma.” The documentary interviews people who have been involved in the industry, and they warn people about these issues regarding privacy online.
“Once I get the vaccine, I don’t need to wear masks or social distance anymore.”
A common misconception is, “Once I get the vaccine, I will be immune and won’t have to follow Covid safety protocols anymore.” Unfortunately, that is now how it works. The vaccine isn’t full immunity to the virus. The vaccine is meant as a protection measure. Of course, you can still contract the virus even if you’re vaccinated. The vaccine only lessens your chance of getting Covid. Even though the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have a 95% effective rate, there is still a 5 per cent margin of failure. Dr. Paul Offit, an infectious disease specialist, has even reported that the vaccines aren’t 100 percent effective: “ that's not 100%. That means one out of every 20 people who get this vaccine could still get moderate to severe infection." Because the vaccine isn’t available to everyone in public, it is essential that we still social distance and keep wearing masks. Even though the vaccine isn’t available to everyone yet, masks, social distancing, and staying home further enhance your chances of not contracting Covid and have been proven effective by the CDC and the World Health Organization.
“I don’t need to get it because of Herd Immunity.”
Image via Gao@100
According to WebMD, ‘Herd Immunity’ is defined as a community that is immune to a specific virus or disease. If everyone in the community is immune to the virus, the virus has nowhere else to go, and it eventually dies. Vaccines help build up immune systems to fight the virus. According to researchers, 80% of the population needs to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity. Eighty per cent is a large majority of people to get vaccinated, so if everyone relied on herd immunity and never got vaccinated, it would be ineffective. Another fact to note is the people who can’t take the vaccine because of specific health issues. They would fall under the 20% of people to rely on herd immunity. Yes, herd immunity works, but only if people cooperate and a majority get a vaccine to strengthen immunity.
How Does the Vaccine Work?
So how does the Covid Vaccine work? The most common vaccine being administered right now are mRNA Vaccines. Messenger RNA or mRNA is a single strand of RNA that contains instructions to make proteins in our body. The vaccine sends mRNA to our cells and trains them to fight the virus. This process helps build immunity and create antibodies. When the actual Covid Virus ends up in our body, the immunity system has the information and the antibodies to fight off the virus.
So What Now?
Although the vaccine and this virus are relatively new, it is crucial to listen to scientists and health workers. Spreading false information about the virus and the vaccine only harms society. If we want the world to open up again, we need to take the pandemic seriously. It is also crucial that we do research and find reliable information about the pandemic and vaccine. From there, we can make decisions regarding our health choices. One day the pandemic will be over, and the world can open up again. But for now, masks and social distancing have been proven effective. If you feel sick or have been in contact with anyone who has Covid, please stay home.
Written by writer Lauren Wang