Common Concerns & Misconceptions About the COVID-19 Vaccine

Do you or your loved ones have concerns about getting the COVID-19 vaccine? If so, I've compiled some info and links that might help you and/or your friends & family feel better about getting vaccinated!

Research cited is mostly on the Pfizer vaccine specifically. For info on Moderna and Johnson&Johnson, see links at bottom.

Misconception #1 - How can we trust that the vaccine works when it hasn't been studied?

  1. This vaccine most certainly has been studied! The clinical trial has been documented and published, you can access records of the trial here.
  2. The researchers conducted a randomized, placebo-controlled, observer-blind trial, eliminating as much bias as possible in order to accurately determine the vaccine's efficacy.
  3. At this time, collected data concludes that the vaccine has on average a 95% efficacy rate for protecting against COVID-19 and is safe to administer to the general public.

Misconception #2 - I don't want to take the risk of being a "guinea pig" for a clinical trial that is still ongoing...

  1. Don't worry, you won't be a "guinea pig", because the 43,998 participants in this trial did that for you! That's right, 43,998 people participated in the Pfizer COVID-19 Clinical trial.
  2. These participants weren't even the first "guinea pigs" either. Prior to starting the clinical trial, researchers studied the effects of the vaccine in mice.
  3. Yes, the study of this vaccine is ongoing, but researchers had to prove safety and efficacy first before it was approved for release to the general public.

Misconception #3 - How can I trust it's safe? I've heard stories about people who've become paralyzed and developed conditions...

  1. Out of at least 21,720 participants who received the vaccine (not the placebo) within the Pfizer COVID-19 Clinical trial that started in April 2020, none of these participants had severe and lasting side effects. All side effects that have been studied so far have been on par with usual vaccine side effects, resembling average flu-like symptoms at worst.
  2. Researchers have stated that, "The safety profile of BNT162b2 was characterized by short-term, mild-to-moderate pain at the injection site, fatigue, and headache. The incidence of serious adverse events was low and was similar in the vaccine and placebo groups."
  3. Read full PubMed article "Safety and Efficacy of the BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine" here

Misconception #4 - Okay, but what about the people who have had allergic reactions to receiving the vaccine??

  1. Yes, a small percentage of people have experienced an allergic reaction to receiving the vaccine. Out of 1,893,360 individuals who have received the COVID-19 vaccine, there have been 21 reported incidents of severe allergic reaction (to put this into perspective, that's a 0.001% chance of severe allergic reaction). For more on allergic reactions to the vaccine, read this article by the CDC.
  2. 71% of these severe reactions occurred within 15 minutes of vaccination. In order to ensure the safety of individuals receiving the vaccine, all vaccine sites have a designated waiting area where they advise participants to wait for at least 15mins, and all vaccine sites have epi pens ready if necessary.
  3. Participants are also encouraged to register with v-safe: after vaccination health checker, a service run by the CDC that checks in on you daily to monitor your symptoms.

Clinical Trial .gov Links:

  • For full details of the Pfizer COVID-19 Clinical trial, you can access them here
  • For full details of the Moderna COVID-19 Clinical trial, you can access them here
  • For full details of the Johnson & Johnson (also referred to as Janssen) COVID-19 Clinical trial, you can access them here

PubMed Article Links:

  • For the PubMed Abstract, stating the efficacy and safety of the Pfizer COVID-19 Clinical trial, view article here
  • For the PubMed Abstract, stating the efficacy and safety of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, view article here
  • For the PubMed Abstract, stating the Phase 1-2a interim results of the Johnson & Johnson (also referred to as Janssen) COVID-19 Clinical trial, view article here is a registry of clinical trials. It is run by the United States National Library of Medicine (NLM) at the National Institutes of Health, and is the largest clinical trials database, holding registrations from over 329,000 trials from 209 countries.

Note: PubMed is another resource managed by the National Library of Medicine. A trial with an NCT identification number that is registered in can be linked to a journal article with a PubMed identification number (PMID). PubMed is a free search engine for accessing primarily references and abstracts on life sciences and biomedical topics - it is not a clinical trial registry.

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