Now, with the Covid-19 vaccination rollout plan in full force, vaccines have remained a hot national topic for several months now.
But firstly: what are these vaccines, and how exactly do they work?
Simply put, vaccines help our bodies develop immunity against the virus causing Covid-19. Vaccines contain weakened or inactive parts of the live virus – also called an antigen – that triggers an immune response from the body. Don’t worry: these weakened parts aren’t enough to infect their host, so there is no danger of getting Covid-19 from the vaccine.
When you receive the vaccine and its antigen, your white blood cells recognise this as a threat and work to produce antibodies to counter the antigens.
It takes a few days for your body to fully fight the infection – so you might experience common side effects such as:
Delays in your menstrual cycle
Redness or soreness at the site of your vaccination
However, you shouldn’t worry, as this is a sign that your body is building protection against the virus.
Amongst the different types of vaccines currently being used across the world, here’s a brief breakdown of vaccines listed by the official sources such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):
mRNA vaccines like the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two shots. These comprise the genetic code of Covid-19’s spike protein that instructs the body to produce antibodies.
Whole virus vaccines such as Sinovac require two doses, which use an inactivated whole virus vaccine. However, due to the lower reported efficiency against the Delta variant, a booster shot might be required to achieve higher immunity.
Protein subunit vaccines, which are made by inserting the antigen genetic code into yeast cells for protein synthesis. Novavax is currently working on developing one to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Vector vaccines such as the AstraZeneca vaccination are completed with two shots. These contain a safe, modified version of the virus to trigger your body’s immune system into producing antibodies.
Reputable sources such as the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to the World Health Organization (WHO) have listed extensive evidence to prove vaccines work to curb the severity of Covid-19 infection symptoms and its resultant mortality rate.
However, social media has been abuzz with misconceptions surrounding vaccines and what they mean for those who receive them. As these might lead to a misunderstanding of how vaccines work, we’re here to debunk a few common myths about Covid-19 vaccines.
1. The Covid-19 vaccines aren’t safe as they were developed too quickly
It might be true that vaccines take up to years to be fully developed, but Covid-19 vaccinations quickly rose to the top of the priority list during the pandemic.
Due to international collaborations between scientists, producers, and distributors, the vaccines underwent intensive testing through clinical trials before being rolled out in a safe and effective manner.
Scientists also based their formulae on previous epidemics and pandemics, such as the 2002 SARS outbreaks and the 2012 MERS scenario, to help develop Covid-19 vaccines.
2. Some vaccines might cause blood clots
When Malaysia allowed its citizens to register for the AstraZeneca vaccine slots, many cited previous studies linking the vaccine to potential risks of blood clots and other related complications.
However, statistics consistently showed that this risk was minimal: affecting about five people per million. The threat of testing positive for, and death caused by Covid-19 greatly outweighs any risk related to blood clots after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine.
3. mRNA vaccines change or alter your DNA
Similarly to other vaccines, mRNA vaccines work to deliver genetic material to our cells to start building protection against the Covid-19 virus.
However, as this material doesn’t enter the nucleus of the cell – the site in which our DNA is kept – it’s safe to say that all Covid-19 vaccines do not change your DNA in any way at all.
4. Covid-19 vaccines can affect your fertility or cause pregnancy problems
There is no scientific evidence that Covid-19 vaccinations cause fertility or pregnancy problems, including those currently with a child.
In fact, pregnant or breastfeeding Malaysian women are completely eligible to register for their Covid-19 vaccinations. These would greatly mitigate the risks of contracting Covid-19 when pregnant – one of the highest threats to the safety of both mother and baby.
5. Healthy or fit people do not need to get vaccinated
Everyone, regardless of their fitness levels, should get vaccinated. Non-high risk patients who have been infected with Covid-19 still report long-term symptoms due to the virus’ effects on their immune systems.
6. Covid-19 vaccinations make you magnetic
There are no active ingredients in any Covid-19 vaccine which causes this. On top of this, the typical dose is insufficient to attract magnets even if the vaccine had magnetic metals in them.
7. Fully-vaccinated people don’t need to wear masks or observe SOPs
Since we know how vaccinations work, it’s crucial to mention that vaccinations aren’t a cure to Covid-19 – but a way to help combat the symptoms associated with coronavirus.
That having been said, fully vaccinated people can still test positive for Covid-19 and, in turn, infect others around them. Therefore, it’s still essential to continue physically distancing and to wear the proper surgical 3-ply and 4-ply masks even after you’ve received your second dose.
To replenish your protective gear and keep those around you safe, check out NOVID’s 3-ply surgical disposable masks and 4-ply surgical disposable masks – sterilised and individually packed for everyone, no matter your vaccine or dose.