The COVID-19 vaccine was developed faster than any other vaccine in history. For some people, this raises questions. After all, vaccines typically take 10-15 years to develop. Why is COVID-19 different?
Its speed arose from several important factors. Scientists built on previous research into other coronaviruses, they shared data and collaborated around the world, and governments fast tracked clinical trials and approvals. Fast-tracked vaccines still went through standard clinical trials, however, and fast-tracked elements don’t affect the accuracy of those results. The vaccine for COVID-19 is completely safe.
Despite this, many myths still circulate about the vaccine. People believe they shouldn’t get vaccinated if they’ve already been ill, but the vaccine can prevent reinfection. Others think the vaccine will end masks and social distancing immediately, but vaccinated people may still be able to spread the disease asymptomatically. Finally, vaccines cannot give anyone COVID-19. They don’t contain any viral material. Instead, the vaccine is like a teacher. According to Jim Lando, MD, MPH, FACPM and former US Assistant Surgeon General, “COVID vaccines teach your body to be ready for the coronavirus so that you can fight it off the first time without getting sick.”
Right now, the COVID-19 vaccine is not available for everyone. Phases vary by state in the US, but the CDC recommends healthcare workers and long term care residents go first, followed by frontline workers and people over 75+. It may be some time before the general population gets their vaccine. When it is time to get the shot, keep track of who you get it from. Both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna require 2 shots for 95% effectiveness, and they cannot be mixed. Only scams will try to make customers pay for the vaccine regardless of access to health insurance.
Fight misinformation. Spread the facts about the COVID vaccine.