The COVID Vaccine was welcomed with a lot of hope and trepidation. While the population was excited at the prospect of a cure, the fast-tracked processes and the lack of clear information on trials created uncertainty which was fuelled by ill-informed rumors. The misconceptions and rumors triggered vaccine hesitancy among people.
Following are the few COVID vaccine myths people have:
Myth: Consumption of alcohol is forbidden and poisonous when vaccinated.
Truth: There is no evidence indicating that alcohol is poisonous when vaccinated. Alcohol is an immuno-suppressant. The purpose of a vaccine is to boost immunity by producing antibodies and alcohol beats the whole purpose of vaccination. That being the case, it is advised to not consume alcohol in large amounts or indulge in binge drinking.
Myth: Since pregnant and lactating women can’t be vaccinated, there must be something wrong with the vaccine.
Truth: Pregnant and lactating women were not included in the clinical trials, which is the normal practice for any drug trial in the initial stage hence it is not advisable for them to take the vaccination. This restriction does not correlate with the quality of the vaccine
Myth: It is risky for dialysis patients to take the vaccine.
Truth: Dialysis patients should be vaccinated on priority as they have low immunity and need the vaccine. However, they might need larger dosages than usual due to their compromised immunity. The UK has started inoculating vaccines to such patients and we are awaiting the results. A separate guideline regarding the vaccination of dialysis patients is not yet available.
Myth: Kidney donors are at an increased risk when vaccinated.
Truth: Donors are perfectly healthy and normal, they do not have to worry about complications even if they have donated in the last six months and can get a regular vaccination.
Myth: People on steroids should not get vaccinated, they will experience severe side effects.
Truth: People on long term Steroids might have suppressed immunity due to their medications and similarly might need vaccination at the earliest. Even people using blood thinner medications can get vaccinated.
Additionally, confusion is prevalent about taking the vaccination among those with allergies. CDC has contra-indicated for people with known allergies to the vaccine. Allergies refer to severe allergies like an allergy to animal proteins, anaphylaxis or severe food allergies. It does not refer to mild allergies like dust allergy.
Myth: People with comorbidities are at an elevated risk of getting side effects.
Truth: There is no proof confirming that people with comorbidities will get side effects when vaccinated. People may experience mild routine effects irrespective of their comorbidity.
Myth: People with heart conditions should avoid taking vaccines.
Truth: There is no proof that people with heart conditions should not be taking the vaccine. Patients on anti-coagulants need to consult their physician before taking the vaccine.
Myth: What’s the whole point of vaccines if they can’t be injected when we are actually COVID positive?
Truth: A COVID positive person was not included in the clinical trials, and hence they are not included. Recovery from COVID should give them immunization for 3 months. Thus, COVID positive people should avoid the vaccine for a minimum of 4-8 weeks, post recovering from COVID
Myth: COVID Vaccine is not safe as it is in the market without proper trial and testing.
Truth: The vaccine has undergone all the routine due processes. The vaccination has been tested for all the clinical trials – phase 1, 2 and 3. All the safety measures and protocols have been taken before rolling out the vaccination.
Myth: Vaccinated people do not have to wear masks or worry about sanitization.
Truth: Vaccination and protection against COVID go hand in hand, people must wear masks and use sanitisers even after being vaccinated.
Myth: Vaccination caused the viruses to mutate.
Truth: Vaccines are not the cause of new strains. On the contrary, it is advised to inoculate the vaccine before the new strain has an adverse effect on the Indian population.
Consultant - Internal Medicine
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