COVID-19: Myths And Facts

MYTH: COVID is no more dangerous than the flu

FACT: COVID kills up to 10x more than flu. Research at John Hopkins University indicates that COVID is more fatal, impacts more people for longer (up to 30 days) and spreads faster than the flu. Claiming that COVID is no more dangerous than the flu trivialises the destruction this virus has brought to many lives.

MYTH: COVID deaths are being exaggerated

FACT: COVID deaths are most likely under-reported rather than exaggerated. The majority of COVID declared deaths have positive swabs. A minority are recorded as COVID without a swab if the radiological picture or symptoms strongly suggest COVID in the absence of any other explanation and doing a post-death swab is undesirable / impractical. This is in keeping with normal medical practice.

MYTH: Wearing a mask is bad for your health

FACT: There is no evidence to show that wearing a mask is harmful, but there is evidence to show that it can protect. We all have a role to play in reducing the spread of COVID. We must continue to practice social distancing, wearing masks and handwashing to help reduce the spread of COVID.

MYTH: Only the really sick & elderly are dying from COVID

FACT: This is not true. The average age in Intensive Care Units is (ICU) just over 60 years old. Pre-existing conditions that make one high risk can be as simple as asthma, diabetes or being overweight.

MYTH: COVID vaccine causes irreversible side effects

FACT: No patient has so far suffered from irreversible side effects – in trials or in the population.

This myth was spread by misreading a presentation which actually said 3000 of those vaccinated suffered with temporary and reversible side effects.

All medicines have the potential to cause side effects, but this needs to be weighed against the harm of the disease they are trying to prevent.

MYTH: The COVID vaccine ingredients are Haram

FACT: The Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine contain no animal ingredients at all.

Declaring a product halal or haraam is a call for Islamic scholars who have studied this for years. The simple presence of a particular ingredient is not the only factor taken into account. The Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines have been declared halal by the majority of scholarly bodies worldwide.

MYTH: Vaccines contain aborted foetal cells

FACT: Vaccines do not contain foetal cells.

Some vaccines (NOT the Pfizer / Moderna COVID vaccines) originally used very special foetal cells to grow the virus many decades ago.

The original cells were the only option at the time. These cells are not present in current vaccines and have been declared acceptable to use by the majority of Islamic scholarly bodies worldwide.

MYTH: Vaccines are being used to chip and track the population

FACT: Vaccines do not contain any chips or trackers for surveillance.

Independent authorities across the world from countries that compete with each other have approved the vaccine and not found any microchips.

The truth is that there are far easier ways to track the population (mobile phones/ bank cards etc) than biological trackers.

MYTH: Vaccines are unsafe - that is why no pregnant women were in trials

FACT: Pregnant women & children are not usually included in initial trials.

The current COVID vaccines are not recommended for most children at this stage. The guidance for pregnant women is to make a decision based on risk. This does not mean it is unsafe in these groups.

It is reflective of them not being in the main trial groups and a sign of the safety protocols taken.

MYTH: The vaccine was approved too quickly to be safe

FACT: The speed of approval was mainly due to cutting red tape rather than cutting corners.

There has been unprecedented worldwide scientific collaboration and funding to create the COVID vaccine along with advances in technology. This global effort allowed scientists to work at record speed and complete years of work in months.

MYTH: The vaccine may modify your DNA

FACT: There is no way that RNA can change the DNA of anyone.

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine uses mRNA technology. The mRNA vaccine teaches our cells to make a protein that triggers a protective immune response. The mRNA is broken down soon after it enters the body.

mRNA never enters the nucleus of the cell, where our DNA is kept.

MYTH: We should just wait for herd immunity

FACT: The number of deaths that will occur before we possibly achieve herd immunity will be disastrous.

Herd immunity works if the majority of the population has had COVID. To achieve herd immunity, the number of deaths would increase dramatically if individuals decide to not take the vaccine and be disastrous for our country.

MYTH: There is no point getting vaccinated due to new COVID strains

FACT: There is currently no evidence to suggest that the vaccines will not protect against the new strains.

It is normal for viruses such as the flu virus to go through genetic changes. Scientists are looking at the characteristics of the new strains. Small variations do not often affect the effectiveness of a vaccine.

MYTH: COVID vaccines contain alcohol

FACT: The Oxford AZ Vaccine contains ethanol at an amount that is less than what is found in natural foods or bread.

Many scholars have deemed the Oxford AZ Vaccine to be permissible as the amount of ethanol is negligible.

MYTH: COVID vaccines contain pork or other animal derivatives

FACT: There are no pork or other animal ingredients in the current available vaccines.

Even in circumstances when there are impermissible ingredients in a vaccine, many renowned scholars have concluded that they are permissible if there are no alternative options.

MYTH: COVID vaccine can give you COVID

FACT: No. You cannot get COVID from the vaccine. The COVID vaccines teach our immune systems how to recognise and fight the virus that causes COVID.

This process can cause side effects which are usually mild. The current vaccines cannot make you sick with COVID.

MYTH: COVID vaccines can make you infertile

FACT: There is no evidence to suggest that the COVID vaccines cause infertility.

This myth started when a German epidemiologist suggested that the COVID vaccine would cause the body to make anti-Syncytin-1 antibodies. He admitted that there was no indication that this was the case.

A number of women who had the vaccine in the trial have since become pregnant.

MYTH: Catching COVID after having the vaccine is proof they don’t work

FACT: The immune system can take a number of days or weeks to generate an immune response before protection from the virus begins.

The COVID vaccine will reduce the chances of suffering from the serious complications of COVID, which may require hospitalization.

No vaccine is 100% effective. Everyone should continue to take the recommended precautions to avoid infection.

MYTH: You don’t need vaccination if you already had COVID

FACT: We do not know how long protection remains after COVID infection. Therefore having the vaccine is advised.

People infected with COVID are likely to be protected for some months but further research is required. These individuals could still transmit the virus to others.

MYTH: I’m young & low risk and don’t have to take the COVID vaccine

FACT: While those aged 65 and above are at higher risk, adults aged 18 – 64 have also faced admissions to hospital.

Although the risk is higher with age and comorbidities, COVID can affect people of any age. COVID can cause long term complications and death. The vaccine is designed to reduce the risk of these disastrous consequences.

MYTH: You can choose which COVID vaccine you get

FACT: Almost no one will be offered a choice due to logistics and availability. The best vaccine is therefore the one you are offered.

All the available vaccines offer a high level of immunity. People should be assured that whichever vaccine they get has been approved by the FDA and met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness.

MYTH: Vaccines should be 100% safe before being released to the public

FACT: Vaccines are a safe way to prevent many diseases but no medication is 100% safe.

Vaccines are held to a higher standard than many other medications but it is important to not create impossible goals for treatments.

MYTH: People are dying from the COVID-19 vaccines

FACT: Some people will die after having a COVID vaccine. This does not mean it was the vaccine that caused the death.

If 10 million people are vaccinated and the vaccine has no side effects whatsoever, 14,000 can still be expected to die from entirely unrelated causes.

The only way to determine if vaccines have serious side effects is by looking at the data from many vaccinated people and comparing them to what can normally be expected from people of that age group.

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