Were the vaccines rushed? Do they cause COVID-19?: Debunking myths about the COVID-19 vaccine

Investigators

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Talk about the COVID-19 vaccine continues to be one of the big topics of conversation these days and there’s a lot bad information about the vaccine floating around out there.

To try and combat that, CBS 17 Consumer Investigator Steve Sbraccia is debunking various myths about the vaccine that you may have encountered.

Much of the misinformation is coming from social media which spreads false information about the vaccine and the only way to push back is with facts and science.

MYTH: The vaccines were rushed

It took about nine months for the vaccines to go from theory to reality. How did it happen without dangerous shortcuts being taken? The answer: scientists followed normal procedures, but without the red tape.

“The FDA was evaluating in real-time and the drug companies were evaluating in real-time as subjects were taken into the study,” said Dr. Jose Valquez who is a professor of infectious diseases at Agusta University Medical Center. “Everything was real-time data instead of waiting till the end of the study to look at the data later on.”

MYTH: The vaccines cause COVID-19

“It is impossible to acquire COVID-19 from the vaccine,” said Valquez.

Unlike all other vaccines which use a portion of a virus to create immunity, the COVID-19 vaccines were developed differently.

They used messenger RNA to instruct cells to make spike proteins that trigger an immune response to the virus, thus there is no COVID-19 virus in the vaccines.

MYTH : The vaccines won’t work against mutations

Just this past weekend, news broke from overseas about a mutation of the virus that’s much more easily transmissible.

The United Kingdom is on major lockdown because of it, and people fear the new vaccines won’t work against this mutation. Virologists say that’s not true.

“I think the average member of the public on the street shouldn’t worry too much about this,” said Dr. Julian Tang, a clinical virologist at the University Of Leicester. “I don’t think it’s a major issue.”

He said it’s interesting from a virologist’s point of view looking at how the mutation changes over time, but believes, “It almost certainly doesn’t affect the vaccine response and protection.”

However, Tang said, over the course of the next 12 months, if there are enough mutations in the spike protein of the virus, vaccines may have to be tweaked a bit to keep them updated.

That’s not uncommon, he said, because vaccines like the one for the flu are tweaked yearly to keep it effective.

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