COVID-19 vaccine facts and myths – what you need to know 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
Size of clinical trial+37,000+30,000+44,000+11,000+26,000
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, 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.
AvailabilityNowNowFebruary, 2021?February, 2021?Summer, 2021?
Doses22122
Storage-80° to -60°C (-112° to -76°F)-25º to -15ºC (-13º to 5ºF)2º to 8ºC (36º to 46º F)2º to 8ºC (36º to 46º F)2º to 8ºC (36º to 46º F)
IngredientsmRNA, lipid nanoparticles, buffers – details heremRNA, lipid nanoparticles, buffers – details hereTBDTBDTBD
Allergic reactionsVery rare, may be caused by polyethylene glycol in the lipid nanoparticlesVery rare, may be caused by polyethylene glycol in the lipid nanoparticlesTBDTBDTBD
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 polysorbateTBD, but probably noneTBD, but probably noneTBD, but probably none
Allergic reactionsVery rare, may be caused by polyethylene glycol in the lipid nanoparticlesVery rare, may be caused by polyethylene glycol in the lipid nanoparticlesTBDTBDTBD
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.

COVID-19 myths

MythsPfizerModernaJNJ – JanssenAstra-ZenecaNovavax
Will it cause changes in DNA?NoNoNot relevant for now.Not relevant for now.Not relevant for now.
Will it harm developing fetus?NoNoNot relevant for now.Not 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 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.No and no. There is no live virus in the vaccine.There is no live virus in the vaccine.There is no live virus in the vaccine.There is no live virus in the vaccine.
Will it cause Bell’s palsy?NoNoTBD after clinical trial documents are submittedTBD 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?NoNoNoNoNo
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, for now.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.Not relevant, for now.Not relevant, for now.Not relevant, for now.

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!