(via the American Federation of Teachers)
Dangerous misinformation campaigns are fueling skepticism and hesitance around the COVID-19 vaccines, a situation that both prevents achievement of herd immunity and increases the possibility that new variants will be deadly to even the vaccinated. The truth is that 99.5 percent of all COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths happening now are among the unvaccinated. As vaccination numbers lag and COVID-19 infections surge in many communities, it is imperative that AFT members have the most accurate and up-to-date information about the vaccines.
The following is intended to set the record straight about some myths and misconceptions:
MYTH: COVID-19 vaccine technology development was rushed and is too new.
FACT: The mRNA technology used in two of the COVID-19 vaccines has been in development for almost two decades and had previously been used in some cancer treatments. Vaccine makers created the technology to help them respond quickly to a new pandemic illness, such as COVID-19.
MYTH: The COVID-19 vaccine was not tested.
FACT: No testing steps were skipped by the vaccine developers. Some of the steps were conducted at the same time, instead of one at a time, to gather data faster. Clinical trials involving thousands of volunteers from all races, ethnicities and varying medical conditions participated in the clinical trials to determine the effectiveness and risks of the COVID-19 vaccine.
MYTH: I don't need to get vaccinated and instead can just wait for herd immunity.
FACT: Herd immunity occurs when a large portion of a community (the herd) becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. Herd immunity can be reached when enough people have been vaccinated against a disease and have developed protective antibodies against future infection. Currently 49.2 percent of the total U.S. population is vaccinated. It’s estimated that 70-90 percent of the population must be immune to interrupt the chain of transmission. To achieve herd immunity, everyone must do their part and get vaccinated.
MYTH: I can still contract COVID-19 even if I'm vaccinated, so receiving the vaccine won't make any difference.
FACT: While no vaccine is 100 percent effective, the COVID-19 vaccine has proven to be extremely effective in preventing both mild and severe infection, including hospitalization and death in those fully vaccinated. All three COVID-19 vaccines approved in the U.S. are more than 85 percent effective. By comparison, the annual flu vaccination is around 50 percent effective. This means that if you are vaccinated and still contract COVID-19, then you are less likely to be seriously ill or need hospitalization. The states that regularly report COVID-19 data indicate that breakthrough cases, hospitalizations and deaths are extremely rare events among those who are fully vaccinated. The rate of breakthrough cases reported among those fully vaccinated is well below 1 percent in all reporting states, ranging from 0.01 percent in Connecticut to 0.29 percent in Alaska as of July 30, 2021.
MYTH: The COVID-19 vaccination will alter my DNA.
FACT: Despite claims to the contrary, COVID-19 vaccines do not alter or interact with your DNA. The vaccines work by delivering instructions (genetic material) to your cells to start building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. It is important to know that the material never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept.