COVID-19 vaccine: Separating fact from fiction as vaccine race nears finish line
The United States could be less than two weeks away from approving the first COVID-19 vaccine.
Health officials say that they plan to deliver 40 million doses of the vaccine over the next two months. Health care workers would be the first people to get the vaccine.
But despite impressive clinical trials, polls show that only 61% of Americans say that they are likely to take it. The 39% who say that they are not likely to take the vaccine seem to be worried about side effects.
News 12’s Walt Kane spoke with some medical experts to separate fact from fiction surrounding the vaccine.
One of the biggest concerns people may have is a fear that the vaccine could actually give them the virus.
“That’s impossible,” says Dr. Barron Lerner, a professor at NYU’s Grossman School of Medicine. “The vaccine does not contain the actual virus, it's just like little pieces, like proteins and things. You can't get that disease from the vaccine.”
Lerner says that some people may get sick for a day or two after getting the shot, similar to the flu vaccine. This is because vaccines work by tricking one’s body into thinking it is infected.
“It’s annoying at the time. But it’s good that your body is clearly reacting to the material that’s being put in it and it’s responding,” Lerner says.
It has been reported that some of the vaccines are 90%-95% effective. But Lerner says that it doesn’t necessarily mean that the vaccine will prevent someone from getting the virus 95% of the time.
Researchers base a vaccine’s effectiveness on the number of people who get sick. People who are infected but are asymptomatic are not counted in the numbers. But doctors do say that the vaccine is likely to make symptoms of COVID-19 less severe for some people who are infected.
The new vaccines were produced in record time - made and tested within months. So there are some who are concerned that it was done too quickly and that corners were cut to get the results researchers wanted.
“I would not say that corners were cut…It’s the same steps, the same three-phase trials. The same checking process, safety and efficacy. That always goes on. It was just done over a much shorter period of time,” Lerner says.