Vaccine is the best hope that could end this pandemic, and it is great news that the public’s confidence to receive it is rising based on a survey by Global Health Innovation.
According to the survey, 54% of respondents across 15 countries would get a COVID-19 vaccine if it would be available to them.
However, a noticeable percentage of Filipinos are hesitant to get vaccinated, despite the expectations that different brands of COVID-19 vaccines are soon to arrive in the country.
According to a poll conducted by Pulse Asia, 47% of Filipinos said they do not want to be vaccinated even when doses are already available. These respondents are concerned about their safety as the Dengvaxia controversy haunts the government’s vaccine roll out.
In an interview with SubSelfie.com, Dr. Lulu Bravo, the Executive Director of the Philippine Foundation for Vaccination, she strongly stressed out that there’s nothing to fear about getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
Dr. Bravo pointed out that as long as it went through the necessary process and measures to get approved and be given an emergency use authorization (EUA) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the vaccine is effective and safe to be administered to the public.
Dr. Bravo also cleared out the wave of misinformation and fallacies about the vaccine which are making it more complicated to convince Filipinos to get vaccinated and has started to spread even before the government’s targeted vaccine roll out first quarter of this year.
Here are the top myths and misconceptions about the COVID-19 vaccine and the truth that the public should really know.
MYTH # 1: We don’t need to get vaccinated if we don’t/we didn’t go out during this pandemic.
TRUTH: It is still highly recommended that we all get vaccinated even if we don’t go out. All of us can still be infected by the virus especially if we live with someone who frequently leaves the house and can catch the virus or if we interact with a visitor who enters our homes.
MYTH # 2: People can do what they used to do after they get vaccinated.
TRUTH: We still can’t do all activities we did pre-pandemic. According to Dr. Bravo, we still need to maintain minimum public health standards such as washing our hands, maintaining social distance and wearing our face masks and shields because getting vaccinated doesn’t necessarily mean we won’t get infected.
The COVID-19 vaccine just helps our bodies develop immunity to the virus, but it doesn’t completely protect us from it.
MYTH # 3: The COVID-19 vaccine is not safe for senior citizens.
TRUTH: The Department of Health (DOH) already rolled out their prioritization program for COVID-19 vaccine based on those who have the highest risk of exposure and who are most vulnerable to the virus.
And according to DOH, senior citizens and people with comorbidities are even the second priority for the COVID-19 vaccine roll out next to frontliners, because they are most vulnerable to the disease. According to Dr. Bravo, 10% of those who get infected with COVID-19 who are senior citizens die due to the virus which shows their high mortality rate.
However, due to their risk, senior citizens must first be clinically assessed and must undergo screening and registration before getting vaccinated to check possible contraindications such as severe allergic reactions that shall be considered in the vaccination of priority populations.
MYTH # 4: A certain COVID-19 vaccine is better than other vaccines.
TRUTH: There are no preferred vaccines; no certain COVID-19 vaccine is better than the others.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the acceptable efficacy of the vaccine is from 50% to 70% at the start of the pandemic. Most of the vaccines that are FDA-approved even exceed the acceptable efficacy rate.
So Dr. Bravo encourages the public to get the earliest available vaccine to them that is FDA-approved and that came from reliable at authorized agencies and institutions to be protected from the virus.
MYTH #5: Someone who already had COVID-19 and recovered doesn’t need to get vaccinated
TRUTH: People who already had COVID-19 and recovered are still recommended to get vaccinated because experts don’t know yet how long they will be protected from getting sick again after recovering from the virus.
According to Dr. Bravo, even if they already have antibodies, it is still possible that they could be reinfected so they need to be vaccinated for added protection.
People who were treated for and recovered from COVID-19 should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
MYTH #6: COVID-19 vaccine is the cure to COVID-19.
TRUTH: The COVID-19 vaccine is not the cure to COVID-19. It is a prevention to the disease. At present, there is no drug or medication that cure COVID -19 but the experts are accelerating their research to find treatment for the disease.
MYTH #7: The COVID-19 vaccine is not safe because it was rapidly developed and tested.
TRUTH: Experts, pharmaceutical companies and our government invest significant resources to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 that is safe, effective and meets international standards to protect us from this world-wide pandemic.
According to Dr. Bravo, this is the first time that we’re using a vaccine that is granted an “emergency use authorization” (EUA) because the emergency situation warranted an emergency response to save more lives, but that doesn’t mean companies neglected safety protocols or didn’t perform adequate testing. Scientists and experts still made sure that the safety of the public is uncompromised.
MYTH #8: There are severe side effects of COVID-19.
TRUTH: There are no severe side effects of COVID-19.
According to Dr. Bravo, only 20% of those who were vaccinated experienced mild to moderate reactions such as headache, joint pains, chills, fatigue, muscle pain or fever and these side effects usually just last up to 2 days.
These side effects are normal indicators that our immune system is responding to the vaccine and are common when receiving vaccines.
MYTH #9: More people die because of getting vaccinated than being infected with the virus.
TRUTH: You cannot get COVID-19 infection from COVID-19 vaccines because they are inactivated vaccines and not live viruses. People who received the vaccine experience symptoms or side effects but these are not considered serious or life-threatening.
On the other hand, thousands of people die due to COVID-19 daily and the vaccine was created to protect us from the disease and to prevent the spread of the virus.
MYTH #10: The COVID-19 vaccine can cause infertility or miscarriage.
TRUTH: There are no proven studies or research linking COVID-19 vaccines to infertility or miscarriage. According to Dr. Bravo, the public should always check what’s the source of the posts about the vaccine that they get to read online to avoid misinformation.
MYTH #11: Vaccines from China and Russia are dangerous to be administered.
TRUTH: There shouldn’t be any prejudice over certain vaccines coming from countries such as China as Russia. As long as they are transparent about the scientific data, efficacy and safety of their brands of vaccines and are FDA approved, they are safe to be administered to the public.
It is still uncertain as to when this pandemic will end but what’s definite is that the COVID-19 vaccine would help protect us from the virus and prevent further spread of the disease.
Any amount of protection is better than cure so we are all encouraged to get vaccinated when presented with the opportunity as our health experts assures us that the vaccines they will distribute to us are safe and effective.
About the Author
Apple Gamboa is the Life Editor of SubSelfie.com
She is also the Creative Team Lead of PayMaya, the leading digital financial services provider in the country.
She was previously a Media Relations Manager for Ogilvy Philippines and an interview and field producer for GMA News programs Quick Response Team and News to Go. She was also a producer of lifestyle TV shows and documentaries. Travelling and music are her passion, and taking risks is her reality medicine. Journalism 2010, UST. Read more of her articles here.