Going over COVID vaccine myths and reality


President and CEO of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce & Executive Director of the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier

While we await more accessibility to the COVID 19 vaccine it is important that we take this time to prepare. An important part of preparing our community for more widespread availability of the vaccine is to make sure we are informed correct information and that we inform our family, friend, neighbors and co-workers. We live in an era of information overload and with that we are often subjected to disinformation. Identifying whether information, that is often being fed to us based on algorithms, is accurate or inaccurate is challenging. Inaccurate or intentionally false social media driven posts make their way into the public psyche every day. As a result, there are a variety of myths that have emerged about the COVID-19 vaccine. On January 16th we published an article in this column that was our first shot at helping dispel the myths. We have tried our best to stay in front of this topic and up to date because we think it is critically important for people to have the science-based facts. In our continued effort to dispel myths we are providing you with information we have sourced from the Centers for Disease Control, the Mayo Clinic and the National Institute of Allergy & Disease.

Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine is not safe because it was rapidly developed and tested.

Reality: Scientists have been studying coronaviruses for over 50 years. There are hundreds of Coronaviruses according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infection Diseases. Some cause the common cold and some sparked Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). In addition, advancements in medical technology such as genomic sequencing have enabled researchers to move quickly to understand the viral sequence of diseases such as COVID-19. Pfizer/BioNTech was tested on a population of 43,000 participants, there were no serious safety concerns observed and the tests demonstrated the vaccine reduced the risk of acquiring COVID by 95%.

Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine will make me sick with COVID 19.

Reality: The vaccines authorized and recommended in the United States do not contain the live virus that causes COVID-19, meaning you the vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19.

Myth: I do not need to get vaccinated because I already had COVID-19.

Reality: You still need to get the vaccine even if you already had COVID-19. Even if you have had a positive antibody test, the antibodies at this time appear weak and to wean off quickly, therefore you can still be exposed to the disease.

Myth: COVID-19 will alter my DNA.

Reality: The COVID 19 vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA.

Myth: There are severe side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines.

Reality: In some people there are short term mild or moderate reactions such as headache, chills, fatigue, muscle pain or fever. These symptoms last for 1-2 days.

Myth: I don’t need to wear a mask after I get vaccinated for COVID-19.

Reality: First of all it will take a while for everyone to get vaccinated and it is unknown at this time whether a vaccinated person can or cannot carry and transmit the virus to others. So, keep wearing a mask and following social distancing protocols.

Myth: COVID-19 vaccines were developed using fetal tissue.

Reality: There are no fetal cells contained in or used in the production of Pfizer/BioNTech nor the Moderna vaccines.

Myth: I am allergic to eggs so I shouldn’t get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Reality: There are no eggs in the development or the production of the Pfizer/BioNTech nor the Moderna vaccines.

Myth: The vaccine is an attempt to put a microchip or transducer in my body.

Reality: This is a false claim that was created by a Facebook user whose video went viral. No pun intended!

Myth: There are preservatives in the COVID-19 vaccine.

Reality: There are no preservatives in the Pfizer/BioNTech nor the Moderna vaccines.

Myth: The vaccine will make me sick with COVID-19.

Reality: The currently available vaccines do not contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. The vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19. Sometimes receiving the vaccine can cause symptoms such as a fever and/or pain in the arm that received the shot.

Myth: I will test positive for COVID-19 after I get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Reality: COVID-19 vaccines will not cause you to test positive on a viral test.

Myth: If I get injected with the COVID-19 vaccine I will not be able to have a baby.

Reality: Based on current knowledge, experts believe that COVID-19 vaccines are unlikely to pose a risk to a person trying to become pregnant in the short or long term.

Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine has a greater chance of causing death than the disease itself.

Reality: This is yet another false claim on social media. First of all, you cannot get COVID-19 from taking the vaccine. Secondly, it is important to understand that COVID-19 is ten times more lethal than the seasonal flu. By not taking the vaccine you are not only endangering yourself you are endangering family, friends, the people you work with and anyone you interact with in the course of a day.

Stay safe, be patient and follow the science!


In our next Tuesday Talks event, March 9, the Chamber and MAST will present a special hour-long event aimed directly at small businesses that may have some social media presence, but don’t have a website. There are numerous reasons why a website is crucial, and they will be discussed in this session. In addition, there are several ways businesses can get a website either by using a local developer or through a simple do-it-yourself plan. Building a website can be an easy process, and the Chamber can also help to integrate your site with our new ShopLocalCHQ online sales and marketing platform so you can sell products and services online.

Our presenters will be Brian Rovegno with the Small Business Development Center and Jonathan Weston, Director of Member Marketing for the Chamber. This event will be held at 8:30am, Tuesday, March 9. It is sponsored by OBSERVER and The Post-Journal.

Register now through the Chamber events calendar at www.chautauquachamber.org where you can also watch for other upcoming events. We always encourage participants to get up and out to support local businesses and get some takeout breakfast or coffee to enjoy while you view our online event.


We ask that the entire population do its part to keep our economy strong and community healthy. Those who work on the frontlines in health care fields, at front counters, wait our tables, as cooks, in classrooms and in our region’s manufacturing facilities deserve our utmost respect.

We have an obligation to keep these people safe by continuing to follow safety protocols. We ask that you wear a mask, avoid gathering in groups, if you are sick stay home and wash your hands frequently. Even as the COVID-19 vaccines are being rolled out, it remains crucial that we all take precautions to keep our customers, employees, and families safe. Thank you for doing your part.


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