Doctors debunk myths about COVID-19 vaccine

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Posted at 1:00 PM, Dec 16, 2020

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Despite doctors and medical experts working to assure the community the COVID-19 vaccine is safe, there are some myths flying around.

In an interview with KSHB, Dr. Matt Gratton, associate chief medical officer at Truman Medical Center, addressed some of the most common myths.

MYTH: The COVID-19 vaccine has a microchip that will allow the government to track those who get it:

"That is definitely not true, I mean I’m not really sure how I can prove that, but it's not true," Gratton said. "If it helps I got the vaccine yesterday, and so I would not let somebody plant a microchip into my body, I think that is something that the vast majority of Americans would find incredibly hard to believe."

MYTH: The vaccine was rushed and therefore is not safe:

"I think people should look at this a different way and say this is really a miracle of modern science being able to develop this vaccine as quickly as possible using literally the most modern up-to-date genetic techniques," Gratton said.

Gratton said Americans should take comfort in knowing that thousands of scientists worked on the production of the vaccine to produce it quickly.

"It just goes to show you what human beings can do when they work together and follow science," Gratton said.

Gratton said it's important to note that the approval process of the vaccine is a thorough one.

"The CDC is an organization made up of some of the smartest scientists and physicians in America, and American scientist and physicians are the smartest in the world," Gratton said. "When the CDC sets up a process to evaluate a vaccine and other technology I feel very confident trusting their judgment."

Gratton said many of the people involved with the decision-making process at the CDC don't work for the government but are outside scientists and physicians who advise the CDC.

MYTH: You don't need to get the vaccine if you've had COVID-19:

Gratton said the CDC does recommend someone who has had COVID-19 to still get the vaccine, but there is some question about what the best timing is.

"Because the vaccine is fairly rare at the moment there’s just not that much of it to go around, there is the recommendation from some experts that you might want to wait for 90 days or so and let other people who have not had COVID get a vaccine," Gratton said.

Gratton said this is the approach Truman Medical Center is taking with workers who have had COVID-19 in the last 90 days. Ultimately, he said everyone will get the vaccine at some point.

"There’s still some science to be worked on, but there is some evidence that perhaps the vaccine will give better immunity than natural COVID," Gratton said. "That’s not definitively determined, but I think everyone agrees at some point you should get the vaccine even if you have had COVID."

MYTH: The vaccine will cause severe side effects:

"Every vaccine has a potential to give people side effects, and this is no different than that," Gratton said.

Gratton said there is some evidence that shows people may be more likely to develop symptoms after receiving the second injection.

According to Gratton, the most common side effects are injection site symptoms such as pain, swelling or redness. Other minor symptoms may be headache, fatigue or body aches.

Gratton said studies show only about 10-15% of people had minor symptoms such as a low-grade fever.

"The second shot it’s a little bit higher so more like 20 percent," Gratton said. "So it is true that people with the second shot typically feel, if they get any symptoms at all, a little bit worse than after the first shot, but the vast majority of people will be able to go about their business."

As far as allergic reactions, Gratton said there have been several cases in England.

"That can happen with any vaccine so there is a recommendation that if you've had an allergic reaction, a serious allergic reaction, that you need to be more cautious about getting this one and be observed a little bit longer afterwards," Gratton said.

Gratton said he feels confident that the people giving the vaccine will be able to treat allergic reactions if they do happen.

"It’s very rare, in the actual study they based approving this vaccine on there were no serious allergic reactions," Gratton said.

This story was originally published by Emma James at KSHB.