Why these common vaccine myths crumble under scrutiny

By Siegrid Massie | LTVN Reporter/Anchor

I think we can collectively agree that we’re over this pandemic. As more and more of the country begins to open up and businesses decrease mandates, there is only one viable solution to help the world get back to the pre-pandemic place. The only way we can get back to the world we once knew is to get vaccinated.

However, vaccines have been a victim of a vast amount of misinformation and fake news. These misconceptions and myths took root on social media without proper research but quickly spread online. Many experts and professionals have carefully examined the claims and debunked them so the general population can have a better understanding of the vaccine process. Here are three vaccine myths that have been widely debunked by experts and why you should consider getting it.

#1: The vaccine was rushed, so we can’t trust it

The development of these vaccines has not been rushed by any means. Development, testing and production began between 2002 and 2003 after the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic in 2002. The virus that causes SARS is also in the same family of viruses as COVID-19. Because the two illnesses are in the coronavirus family, the research and vaccine development that began almost 14 years ago was able to be used to target the COVID-19 strain. The 14 years it has taken to develop the vaccine is right on schedule with the 10-15 year timeline that it usually takes.

#2: The vaccine causes fertility problems

This myth arose after a fake report on social media about the spike protein that the vaccine produces. The social media user was confused about the protein that causes fertility problems with the spike protein that is produced to fight the coronavirus. There is no evidence to show this protein in any way interferes with fertility in men or women. In fact, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists highly encourage pregnant women to get the vaccine as soon as possible.

#3: The vaccine changes DNA

Without diving too deep into the thorough biochemistry behind it, there is no interaction between the vaccine and your DNA. Instead, the vaccine uses mRNA that when synthesized, creates a protein. The protein is then used by cells to recognize the virus and kill it when it comes into contact. The mRNA, protein and virus come nowhere near the nucleus of the cell to interact or change your DNA.

Getting back to the world before the pandemic depends on everyone doing their part to end it. A portion of the population cannot simply rely on others to do the work by taking the vaccine while expecting to reap the benefits of herd immunity. There is a certain level of uncertainty with any vaccine, but there are even more unknowns with the long-term side effects of contracting COVID-19.