Regional One Health experts want everyone to know that the COVID-19 vaccinations have been rigorously tested and proven safe and effective.

They have heard a number of “myths” about the vaccines, and are looking to provide clear, factual information aimed at keeping patients safe.

They encourage everyone to get a vaccine when they have a chance, as it is the best way to protect yourself and others and help restore normal life.

Regional One Health experts want patients to know the COVID-19 vaccines are effective, safe and the best way to end the pandemic and get life back to normal. They recently discussed some of the myths vs. facts associated with the vaccines.

Myth: The vaccines were developed too fast to be safe.

Cyrilyn Walters, MD, medical director of ambulatory services and leader of our Post-COVID-19 Follow-up Clinic, said the speed of development is due to an unprecedented global effort.

When COVID-19 emerged, scientists all over the world shared resources, findings and expertise, and there was also ample funding put toward vaccine development. “When something is gripping communities worldwide, it’s amazing how things come together,” Dr. Walters said.

She said the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines do use a newer technology, but scientists were able to build on research that already existed. Dr. Walters said everyone should remember the coronavirus vaccines went through the same rigorous testing process as any other vaccine and were proven to be highly safe and effective.

Dr Cryilyn Walters | Regional One Health

Dr. Cyrilyn Walters, medical director of ambulatory services, says the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. She urges all patients to get a vaccine when they are eligible to guard against the potentially deadly or debilitating coronavirus.

“The best vaccine is the one you have access to,” Dr. Walters added. “With Pfizer and Moderna, it’s the different between Nike and Adidas or Android and Apple – they’re so similar in terms of the studies, side effects, the two-part dose and the effectiveness, they’re almost interchangeable.”

Myth: The vaccine’s side effects are worse than the virus.

The vaccine’s documented side effects mostly include short-term soreness at the injection site, fatigue, headache, body aches, chills, stomach discomfort and fever. For patients who receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, they are often more pronounced with the second shot.

On the other hand, coronavirus can be deadly and debilitating, having already killed over half a million people in the United States.

“To me it’s a no-brainer,” Director of Nursing Charles Lapsley, MSN, RN said. “Being on the COVID-19 Unit and seeing the death associated with this vicious disease, there’s no way that a little temporary arm soreness or grogginess can compare.”

In her Post-COVID clinic, Dr. Walters sees patients who struggle for months with symptoms that harm their quality of life: “COVID-19 is so much more than whether you’re going to live or die,” she said, noting some patients continue to suffer months after being declared coronavirus-free.

Myth: The vaccine can give me coronavirus.

None of the vaccines contain coronavirus, so this isn’t possible, Dr. Walters said.

Don’t believe misinformation about the coronavirus vaccines. The vaccines can’t give you coronavirus, don’t cause serious side effects and are not linked to conditions like infertility.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines cause your body to make antibodies that stop the coronavirus from invading cells. Johnson and Johnson uses the virus that causes the common cold to spark an immune response. The parts of the cold virus that make you sick have been removed.

Myth: The vaccines cause infertility.

Dr. Walters said this myth arose from reports that a protein in the virus is similar to a protein found in a pregnant woman’s placenta. However, there is no study or scientific evidence showing a link between vaccination and fertility problems.

Myth: It’s OK to wait and see what happens before getting my vaccine.

D’Arcy Deveaux, Sr., M.Div., TH.D., staff chaplain at Regional One Health and Senior Pastor at Emmanuel Baptist Church, said that isn’t the right choice morally. “If you delay, you can be dangerous to those around you – you can be a carrier and you can hurt others. Vaccination is the best way to eliminate the pandemic and go back to some degree of normalcy,” he said.

His advice? “Exercise faith over fear. We believe scientists were enabled with a level of learning that as believers we must trust. We can’t decide when to trust them, we trust them all the time.”

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