Now that several COVID-19 vaccines have passed their clinical trials, public health officials have readjusted their focus toward immunization awareness. With any major health event, myths and misconceptions will appear and this vaccine is no exception.
Luckily Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is providing the public with some clarity.During a segment on CNBC’s Healthy Returns, the veteran physician addressed some popular misconceptions surrounding recent vaccine candidates.
Academicians, study samples, and the stock market have all responded positively to Pfizer and BIoNtech receiving emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, even if present circumstances paint a grim narrative ahead of winter.
“The numbers speak for themselves,” Fauci began. “We are in a very difficult situation. We still have between 200 and 300 thousand new cases a day. We’re in a surge that’s rather steep.”
When host, Meg Tirrell turned the conversation toward vaccine myths—particularly ones that suggest patient samples can contract COVID-19 after receiving vaccine doses, Fauci said squarely that this is impossible.
A similarly staunch response followed questions regarding an RNA vaccine’s potential to alter one’s own DNA.
“They’re getting a snippet of RNA, which is coding for a protein. It has nothing to do with your own genetic material,” Fauci continued. “It gets injected. It gets into a cell, and it starts pumping out the spike protein that you want the body to make an immune response. It doesn’t integrate into any aspect of your own genetic material. It’s totally separate from your own genetic material.”
As previously covered and debunked by Ladders, the speedy and efficient development of a COVID-19 vaccine is not indicative of corners being cut, but of resources being amplified.
Governments from around the world pre-bought vaccine doses which means study trials could take greater risks at an earlier stage of the process.
mRNA platform technology additionally allowed researchers to take genetic material from the novel coronavirus and place it into a tried and tested dose, just as Fauci explained above. This condensed years worth of research into months; the entire medical world was contributing to the same cause simultaneously.
“The speed is a reflection of the extraordinary advances made in platform technology for vaccines that were not at the expense of safety nor were they at the expense of scientific integrity,” Fauci added. “In addition, an enormous amount of money was put into the development and production of vaccine doses so that they would be ready to give to be people as soon as they were shown to be safe and effective.”
Clinical and behavioral initiatives against the novel coronavirus have been promising, by and large. Still, suppressing transmissions will require the same level of vigilance in a vaccinated world.
SARS-CoV-2 is an RNA virus, so it mutates very quickly. Moreover, infected populations have expressed a wide range of reactions.
“You need to keep wearing masks and doing the fundamental public health measures,” even after you’ve been vaccinated, Fauci concluded.
More research needs to be conducted to determine how long the general public remains protected against SARS-CoV-2 after receiving shots at varying intervals.
“Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, people may be advised to get a COVID-19 vaccine even if they have been sick with COVID-19 before,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wrote in recently updated literature.
“At this time, experts do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity someone gains from having an infection, called natural immunity, varies from person to person. Some early evidence suggests natural immunity may not last very long.”