The COVID vaccine is a topic that has caught most everyone’s interest. While it is important to stay on top of new developments, much fear has developed in the wake of misinformation. Today I want to feature vaccines in a bit of a different light by talking about them in an informative fashion and trying to ease the associated anxieties.
Right now the CDC has approved three vaccines for use: Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson. There are also two different vaccines in stage three of clinical trials and these are AstraZeneca and Novavax. In recent news, countries such as Denmark have jumped the gun and already started using them. However, Denmark stopped the use of stage three AstraZeneca after a couple of weeks of use due to a side effect of blood clots. This is not information to scare you, but to make you feel safer knowing that this vaccine was not yet approved by the CDC.
There are many different fears associated with vaccines and nearly all of them are understandable and rational. However, the CDC debunks the majority of vaccine myths on their website, which is a great resource for any who have questions. Checking it out will likely ease some anxiety and help you to understand them better.
The first myth I want to discuss today is that the vaccine will give you COVID-19. This is not true, but it makes sense because of the previous vaccines that we have experienced. The COVID vaccines are a little different though, because they are mRNA vaccines, meaning that they do not use the virus. Rather, they use your own body. For more information on exactly how mRNA vaccines work, you can visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/mrna.html.
Another big concern is that the vaccine will interact with our DNA and cause mutations. This is simply a myth, but an easy one to believe. RNA-based COVID vaccines can’t cause genetic mutations because the mRNA never enters the nucleus, which we all learned in sixth grade is the “brain” of the cell. This is also where genetic material is stored, which is a little easier to understand. Another thing that I didn’t know was that the cell actually breaks down the “instructions” after it is done using them. Imagine mRNA as a set of instructions, like one that comes with a new coffee maker. After you have used the coffee maker a few times and understand the process, the instructions are tossed in the garbage because they take up too much space. This is essentially what is happening in your body, of course over simplified for ease of understanding.
The final thing I am going to note to ease your stress is that while the production of the vaccines was rushed, they have been held to the same rigorous standards as other vaccines. mRNA has been studied for decades and scientists understand how it interacts with our bodies. It has also been used in cancer research, rabies and flu research and many other things that most people wouldn’t know off the tops of their heads.
I hope that you will take this information and use it to ease your stress about vaccines. Of course, I am not an expert, I’m just an editor. So, do your own research, use the link that I provided and understand that this will soon be a historic piece of the past that you got to experience. Not only that, you will get to say that you took part in ending a global pandemic.