The AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine has been suspended or impounded by more than 15 European Union countries after about 30 people have developed blood clots after having the vaccination. Even before this news came out, however, Britons were worried about the safety of the vaccine and its side effects. If you’re not fully clued up on the jab, don’t worry, Express.co.uk has chatted to Dr Kishan Vithlani Clinical Lead at Qured to break down the seven most misleading coronavirus myths out there.
Myth 1: Scientists produced the COVID-19 vaccine quickly, so it probably isn’t safe
The race to invent a coronavirus vaccine was tense. Every company was desperate to save the world from the deathly pandemic, and lots of different vaccines have been created and administered very quickly.
The UK has access to four different types of vaccinations and all of them were produced and approved rapidly, which has caused concern that the scientists can’t possibly know if the vaccines are dangerous.
Dr Vithlani said the speedy production and approval is nothing to worry about and can be put down to “global efforts”. He said: “Both financial and scientific experts have come together and focused on the task at hand.
“They have also utilised pre-existing research from other viruses such as Ebola and Zika virus.
“Furthermore, vaccines in the UK undergo scrutiny by regulatory bodies to assess their clinical trials’ outcomes, and strict safety standards need to be met before being rolled out.
“Due to the prevalence of Covid-19, volunteers for the clinical trials were more readily available, which allowed data to be collected more efficiently.”
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Myth 2: The coronavirus vaccine might make me unwell with the COVID-19 virus
While some people may feel a little unwell after having the vaccine, you cannot catch coronavirus from the vaccine.
Dr Vithlani said: “None of the current COVID-19 vaccines contains live viruses, and therefore you will not develop COVID-19 due to having the vaccine.
“Vaccines work by teaching your immune system how to detect and fight off a specific organism in the event of an infection.
“Whilst it’s doing this, it is normal for some people to develop mild side effects such as fever and flu-like symptoms – these indicate that your body is going through the learning process.”
The doctor noted that you can still catch coronavirus straight after being vaccinated, so don’t rule out any symptoms of coronavirus just because you’ve had your jab.
He said: “It is important to remember that vaccines will take two to three weeks to start working. Therefore, if you have caught coronavirus in the period immediately before the vaccination or in a few weeks after, you may still become unwell.”
Myth 4: If I’ve already had COVID-19 and recovered successfully, I no longer need to have the vaccine
Scientists don’t know enough about coronavirus to say how much resistance is built up after having the virus once, and some people have caught coronavirus more than once.
You are not immune to the virus if you’ve had it once before and you should still receive the vaccine.
Dr Vithlani explained: “Re-infection with COVID-19 is uncommon, but you should still have the vaccine if it is available to you due to the health risks associated with coronavirus.
“This is because we do not yet know for certain how long immunity lasts following natural infection; it varies on an individual basis, and according to the severity of the initial illness.
“We are currently awaiting data on how long immunity lasts following the vaccine, and this will help dictate how frequently a follow-up vaccination may be required.”
Myth 5: There is no point in taking the vaccine unless everyone is vaccinated
In an ideal world, everyone would have the vaccination. This isn’t going to happen, but that doesn’t mean nobody should have it.
Dr Vithlani explained: “Once an individual is vaccinated, they will develop protection through an immune response from their immune system.
“The idea of vaccinating more people in the population is to help those who are more vulnerable, such as babies and those who are unable to have the vaccine.”
Myth 6: Once I have had the COVID-19 vaccine, I won’t ever get the infection
The purpose of the vaccine is to prevent you from getting a severe illness from COVID-19 – it does not protect you from not getting it at all.
Dr Vithlani said: “This also means you can still pass the infection on to others. As a result, it is vital to still make sure we protect others who may not have had the vaccine or cannot have it.
“Make sure you still continue to follow hand hygiene, face-covering, and social distancing measures even after you’ve had the vaccine.
“If you’re planning to travel in the near future, make sure you pre-order your outbound travel Covid-19 Test Kit as it Includes a travel certificate signed by a GP, so you can travel with complete peace of mind.”
Myth 7: I have had the pneumonia vaccine so this will cover me and I won’t need the COVID-19 vaccine
While coronavirus and pneumonia both cause breathing problems and fever, they are not the same thing.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve had the pneumonia vaccine – you still need to have the coronavirus vaccine if you want to protect yourself against coronavirus.
Mr Vithlani said: “COVID-19 is different from the organisms to which the pneumonia vaccine protects against.
“If you are eligible for the pneumonia vaccine, you should still have this AND the COVID-19 vaccine when it is offered to you.”