This past year has been a challenge responding to a worldwide pandemic with its effects on our daily lives.

Biomedical scientists and public health officials have been working nearly around the clock to track the virus, propose guidelines to keep people safe, create effective therapeutics and vaccines, and plan for a safe return to normal life. American scientists are already working on alterations to the vaccines to account for emerging variants.

One of the major issues remaining is the mass vaccinations required for the public. People are hesitant about the vaccine for many reasons: an underlying distrust of medicine; politicians disparaging the vaccines; questions about whether the vaccines are effective; wild conspiracy theories and myths; and people are tired of masking and social distancing. As scientists and health care professionals, we have more work to do.

Recently, the Association of American Medical Colleges published an article about common myths and facts about COVID-19 vaccines that shines light on this important topic.

The first is that the vaccines are dangerous. Accumulating data shows the minimal side effects are about the same for other vaccinations. These might include a sore arm, feeling achy and fatigue — all caused by your immune system ramping up to protect you. You must have an immune response like this for the vaccine to work. There has been a very low rate of allergic reactions, but even they’re treatable.

There are some that believe the vaccines aren’t effective. Data from vaccinated people shows that the vaccine protects you, especially from hospitalization, severe disease and death. There’s a lack of available data on whether viral transmission is lowered, but researchers are working hard on it.

Some believe that if you already had COVID-19, you don’t need the vaccine. Scientists think most people are immune to the virus for at least six months after infection, but you should get the vaccine to make sure. Think of it as an insurance policy for your health.

People fear the variants will defeat the vaccine, and vaccination isn’t worth the effort. The United Kingdom variant is spreading and likely will become dominant this year, but the current vaccine controls it. The South African and Brazilian variants aren’t fully neutralized by the vaccine, but doctors think the vaccine provides substantial protection. We will probably see more variants, but scientists can quickly modify the vaccines to stop new variants.

Some are afraid that our lives will still be affected after mass vaccinations. This is largely a communication issue. As more people become vaccinated, we can dine out, hug each other and spend time with friends and family. Masking will still be encouraged and watch for new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advice this summer and into the fall.

This will not be an easy process, but our modern technology and science are up to the challenge. Continue to trust in science as we reduce COVID-19 to something we can manage like the common cold or the flu in the future.

Medical Discovery News is hosted by professors Norbert Herzog at Quinnipiac University, and David Niesel of the University of Texas Medical Branch. Learn more at

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(2) comments

Bailey Jones

[thumbup] These new vaccines are the result of almost 4 decades of scientific research. They are incredibly effective and incredibly safe. After 100's of millions of doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, no one has died from the vaccines, and side effects have been minimal and short. There have been some reports of blood clots with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine - occurring at a rate of about 7 per 1 million vaccinated women between 18 and 49 years old.

The CDC maintains the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) to record any adverse event that follows a vaccination - whether it's related to the vaccine or not. The CDC then determines if there are any patterns in adverse events that would indicate a causal relation. (This is how the blood clot issue with J&J was found.)

"Over 273 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the United States from December 14, 2020, through May 17, 2021. During this time, VAERS received 4,647 reports of death (0.0017%) among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine. CDC and FDA physicians review each case report of death as soon as notified and CDC requests medical records to further assess reports. A review of available clinical information, including death certificates, autopsy, and medical records has not established a causal link to COVID-19 vaccines. However, recent reports indicate a plausible causal relationship between the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine and a rare and serious adverse event—blood clots with low platelets—which has caused deaths." -

Compared to COVID - which has, to date, killed 1 in 600 Americans, destroyed the world's economy, hospitalized millions, and left about 10% of patients with long-term debilitating injuries - the choice is an easy one. Get the shots.

Carlos Ponce

" no one has died from the vaccines"

Sounds familiar.

"Reports collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration reveal that 966 U.S. individuals have died after receiving mRNA COVID-19 vaccines."


Steven Denehy, director of Media Relations at Pfizer, said, “To date, millions of people have been vaccinated with our vaccine. Serious adverse events, including deaths that are unrelated to the vaccine, are unfortunately likely to occur at a similar rate as they would in the general population.”

Why does it sound familiar?

CDC reported that of those who died from the Chinese Virus only 6% died FROM the virus.

Just like dying after receiving a vaccine does not necessarily mean they died from the vaccine, dying with the virus does not necessarily mean they died FROM the virus.

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