COVID-19 vaccine facts and myths – UPDATED info about the new vaccines

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There are so many myths about the COVID-19 vaccine, I wanted to post some facts about the new vaccines which we can use for debunking purposes. I used to think that the HPV vaccine brought the most hatred and misinformation from the anti-vaccine world, but it’s clear that the new COVID-19 vaccines are their new targets.

This article will only focus on the five vaccines that I believe will eventually receive FDA or European Medicines Agency (EMA) approval – the Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ Janssen), and Novavax vaccines. I remain unconvinced that any vaccine made in China or the Russian Sputnik V vaccine will ever get approved by countries with robust drug regulatory agencies. However, if they are, I will certainly add them to a future iteration of this list.

I’m going to make this in a basic chart form for ease of use. I will link to supporting evidence wherever relevant.

COVID-19 vaccine facts

FactsPfizerModernaJNJ – JanssenAstra-ZenecaNovavax
Co-developerBioNTechNational Institutes of HealthNoneOxford UniversityNone
Vaccine nameBNT162b2mRNA-1273Ad26.COV2.SChAdOx1NVX-CoV2373
Size of clinical trial43,548 people age 16 and up30,420 people age 18 and up43,783 people age 18 and up+11,000+26,000
Effectiveness95% at least 7 days after dose 294.1% at least 14 days after dose 272% in the U.S. and 66% globally against moderate-to-severe disease; 85% effective against severe disease, 28 days after a single doseTBDTBD
TechnologymRNAmRNARecombined adenovirus vector, human Ad26.COV2.S., that expresses the S-subunit of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to induce an immune response.Recombined adenovirus vector, chimpanzee ChAdOx1, that expresses the S-subunit of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to induce an immune response.Stabilized form of the coronavirus spike protein which employs Novavax’s recombinant protein nanoparticle technology.
AvailabilityCurrentCurrentCurrentApril, 2021Spring, 2021
VariantsNo clinical data; lab studies have shown that the South African (B.1.351) variant may reduce antibody titers by two-thirds.No clinical data; lab studies found no significant impact on neutralizing antibodies with the U.K. variant (B.1.1.7) but a six-fold reduction in neutralizing antibodies with the South African variant (B.1.351).57% efficacy in South Africa; 66% efficacy in South America (Brazil was among the countries studied, but there were no sequenced cases of the P.1 variant)TBDTBD
DosesTwo doses, 21 days apart (30 μg/dose)Two doses, 28 days apart (100 μg/dose)One dose (two-dose regimen under evaluation)22
StorageUltra-cold freezer required, -80ºC to -60ºC (-112ºF to -76ºF) for up to 6 months; the FDA recently allowed a change that frozen, undiluted vials can be stored at standard pharmacy freezer temperatures between -25ºC to -15ºC (-13ºF to 5ºF) for up to 2 weeks.Frozen between -25ºC to -15ºC (-13ºF to 5ºF); can be stored refrigerated from 2ºC to 8ºC (36ºF to 46ºF) for up to 30 days prior to first use.Stable for 2 years at -20ºC (-4ºF) but can be stored for at least 3 months at typical refrigeration temperatures of 2ºC to 8ºC (36ºF to 46ºF)2º to 8ºC (36º to 46º F)2º to 8ºC (36º to 46º F)
IngredientsmRNA, lipid nanoparticles, buffers – details heremRNA, lipid nanoparticles, buffers – details hereAdenovirus vector, buffers – details hereTBDTBD
Allergic reactionsVery rare, may be caused by polyethylene glycol in the lipid nanoparticlesVery rare, may be caused by polyethylene glycol in the lipid nanoparticlesNone observed in clinical trialsTBDTBD
Number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 in vaccinated groupNoneNoneNoneNoneNone
Number of people died from COVID-19 in vaccinated groupNoneNoneNoneNoneNone
Number of people who died from vaccineNoneNoneNoneNoneNone
Safe for pregnancyProbablyProbablyTBDTBDTBD
Contra-indicationsPrevious allergic reaction to mRNA vaccines, allergies to PEG, allergies to polysorbatePrevious allergic reaction to mRNA vaccines, allergies to PEG, allergies to polysorbateNoneTBD, but probably noneTBD, but probably none
A lot of the boxes for the AstraZeneca, JNJ, and Novavax vaccines have TBD (to be determined). Official clinical trial documents have been submitted to the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) in advance of an emergency use authorization (EUA). At that time, I’ll update this section.

Because of the size of this chart, you may have to swipe left in some browsers to see all of the columns.

COVID-19 myths

MythsPfizerModernaJNJ – JanssenAstra-ZenecaNovavax
Will it cause changes in DNA?NoNoNoNoNot a concern.
Will it harm developing fetus?NoNoNoNot relevant for now.Not relevant for now.
Is it safe for pregnant and breastfeeding moms?Probably and probably.Probably and probably.TBDTBDTBD
Will it cause COVID-19?NoNoNo, there is no live SARS-CoV-2 virusNo, there is no live virusNo, there is no live virus
Will it shed COVID-19?No and no. There is no live virus in the vaccine. Dr. David Gorski also says No.No and no. There is no live virus in the vaccine. Dr. David Gorski also says No.No and no. There is no live virus in the vaccine.No and no. There is no live virus in the vaccine.There is no live virus in the vaccine.
Will it cause Bell’s palsy?NoNoNoTBD after clinical trial documents are submittedTBD after clinical trial documents are submitted
No unprotected sex after vaccine?NoNoNoNoNo
Will it cause infertility?NoNoNoNoNo
Did Tiffany Dover die from the vaccine?NoNot relevantNot relevantNot relevantNot relevant
Did Miami doctor, Michael, Gregory, die from the vaccine?Probably no, and noNot relevantNot relevantNot relevantNot relevant
Did the vaccine kill people in Norway?Probably no, and probably noProbably no, and probably noNot relevantNot relevantNot relevant
Do the lipid nanoparticles in the vaccine harm the brain?NoNoNot relevantNot relevantNot relevant
Were the vaccines rushed to market?No and no.No and no.No and no.No and no.No and no.
Should the FDA have stopped the vaccine clinical trials?No.No.No.Stay tuned.Stay tuned.
Should the vaccine not be given to those with current COVID-19 infection?According to Orac, NO.According to Orac, NO.According to Orac, NO.According to Orac, NO.According to Orac, NO.
Are the mRNA vaccines really gene therapy?According to the feathered dinosaur, NO. According to David Gorski, NO.According to the feathered dinosaur, NO. According to David Gorski, NO.Not relevant. However, adenovirus vector vaccines do not affect the DNA.Not relevant, for now.Not relevant, for now.
Are the mRNA vaccines really medical devices?According to the feathered dinosaur, NO. According to David Gorski, NO.According to the feathered dinosaur, NO. According to David Gorski, NO.According to the feathered dinosaur, NO. According to David Gorski, NO.Not relevant, for now.Not relevant, for now.
Do mRNA vaccines target tumor receptor genes?The venerable Orac says NO.The venerable Orac says NO.Not relevant for now.Not relevant for now.Not relevant.
Do these vaccines cause clots? No evidence.No evidence.Possible link to cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, but it extremely rare, around 1 in 1 million doses of vaccine.Possible link to cerebral venous sinus thrombosisUnknown.
Do these vaccines hack the software of life?NO. And Dr. David Gorski says NO.NO. And Dr. David Gorski says NO.So far, no one has stated this, but just wait.Waiting.Probably not.
Over 5800 “breakthrough”cases means the vaccines don’t work?Over 5800 people contracted COVID-19 after vaccination. That’s out of 77 million people, or over 99.2% did not contract the disease.DittoDittoDittoDitto
Can mRNA vaccines cause prion disease and Alzheimer’s disease?David Gorski says NO.NO.Not relevant.Not relevant.Not relevant.
Because of the size of this chart, you may have to swipe left in some browsers to see all of the columns.

Summary

As you can tell, most of the COVID-19 vaccine facts are supported by science-based evidence. And the myths are unsupported by the evidence.

My plan is to update this easy-to-read list of facts and myths about the COVID-19 vaccines as I run across more nonsense. I intend to always add links that support or refute the claim. I hope that this article is helpful to those of you who are having discussions with people who are on the fence about these vaccines.

If you have any new myths, claims, or facts about the COVID-19 vaccines, please post them in the comments below.



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The Original Skeptical Raptor
Chief Executive Officer at SkepticalRaptor
Lifetime lover of science, especially biomedical research. Spent years in academics, business development, research, and traveling the world shilling for Big Pharma. I love sports, mostly college basketball and football, hockey, and baseball. I enjoy great food and intelligent conversation. And a delicious morning coffee!