As we said good-bye to 2020 and hello to 2021, our gatherings, lives, and the holiday season were quite different than what we have experienced in the past. This holiday season, a time of gift-giving, science delivered a pair of encouraging gifts that could possibly provide relief to the COVID-19 global pandemic in the form of vaccines from two companies: Pfizer and Moderna. With the vaccination becoming available, questions about safety, side effects, who should get the vaccine, and was the vaccine rushed have sparked interest and debate. The COVID-19 vaccine is shrouded in myths and as we begin the new year, we would like to help you separate the fact from fiction.
Myth 1: The vaccine isn’t safe because it was developed so quickly.
The first myth revolves around safety and side effects of the vaccine. Covid-19 is similar to other coronaviruses seen in humans like MERS and SARS, so previous research was used to help speed the development process up. Additionally, the pressures of the pandemic encouraged worldwide collaboration. Companies were also able to secure funding and investments more quickly. All vaccines, including COVID-19, go through clinical trials to test safety and effectiveness. The FDA set up rigorous standards that the developers had to meet and the clinical trials showed safety and efficacy were not rushed at all. Each vaccine was determined to be safe and the manufactures conducted trials properly.
Find more resources related to safety on the coalition's resource page.
Myth 2: The timing of the vaccine is suspicious.
The United States FDA made the Moderna COVID-19 and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine available under an emergency access mechanism called an EUA. The EUA is supported by a Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) declaration that circumstances exist to justify the emergency use of drugs and biological products during the COVID-19 pandemic. EUA’s are not used often, but these circumstances justified it. Before the FDA granted Emergency Use Authorization, the safety and efficacy of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine were reviewed by panels of independent experts retained by the companies; by FDA scientific staff; and by an independent panel of experts convened by the FDA, concluding that there are no reported serious safety concerns from either of these vaccines. The CDC and the FDA will continue to monitor individuals who have received the vaccine to ensure there is no evidence of even rare safety issues.
Myth 3: The vaccine isn’t safe because of the side effects it produces.
As with any vaccine side effects can happened, but they align with what we see with other vaccines: pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, swollen lymph nodes in the same arm as the injection, nausea and vomiting, and fever. If you have personal concerns about getting the vaccine because of your past vaccination history than please consult your health care provider.
For more information on the Pfizer and Modern vaccines, Review these fact sheets: