(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 affects only older people.
FACT: While older adults and individuals with pre-existing health conditions, such as diabetes, obesity or asthma, are more likely to become severely ill, COVID-19 can be transmitted to people of any age. People under 40, including children, are less likely to become severely ill with COVID-19; however, the disease can lead to complications and death in anyone. Currently, hospitals are seeing an uptick in COVID-19 patients between the ages of 30 and 49.
MYTH: Children are immune to COVID-19.
FACT: Children are not immune to COVID-19. The number of cases of COVID-19 in children has been steadily rising, and more than 3.85 million have tested positive in the U.S. since the start of the pandemic. Although most children do not become severely ill from COVID-19, some do become quite sick and need to be hospitalized. Some children also develop a condition called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, which can affect the whole body. Children can spread COVID-19 to others. Adults and children who are eligible for the vaccine (currently ages 12 and up) should be vaccinated to protect themselves and others such as children under age 12.
MYTH: COVID-19 is no worse than the flu.
FACT: COVID-19 is three-times more infectious and more deadly than the seasonal flu, with a greater mortality impact. Severe illness, such as lung injury, may be more frequent with COVID-19 than with influenza. Approximately 375,000 people died from COVID-19 during 2020 as compared with 22,000 deaths from the flu. Roughly 61,000 people died of flu during the worst flu season of the past decade; COVID-19 has killed more than ten times as many people.
MYTH: I don't need to get the COVID-19 vaccine because I already got the flu shot.
FACT: Getting a flu shot will not protect against COVID-19. These are two different vaccinations.
MYTH: If I feel fine, then COVID's not a big deal.
FACT: Many people infected with COVID-19 do not feel sick or have any symptoms at all, but they can still transmit the coronavirus to other people. New evidence suggests that vaccinated individuals who do not feel sick can especially spread the delta variant, which is more transmissible than the original COVID virus. This is why the CDC recently revised its mask-wearing guidance to include vaccinated individuals wearing masks indoors in public if they are in areas of substantial or high transmission. Due to the increased transmissibility of the delta variant, the CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.