Top Ten Vaccine Myth-Busters

Covid vaccines are the best way out of this pandemic. They have saved countless lives, prevented the NHS from becoming overwhelmed and helped to keep our economy open.

The C-19 vaccination programme has weakened the link between infection, hospitalisation and deaths. It’s therefore critical we all get jabbed with first, second and booster doses, not just to protect ourselves, but also our loved ones and our communities. Together, we can beat this virus.

Fact 1 – Vaccines underwent extensive safety checks

  • There are extensive checks and balances required at every stage of the development of a vaccine, and this is no different for a COVID-19 vaccine. No stages in the vaccine development process were bypassed. In this case, to meet the global need for safe and effective protection against COVID-19, timelines were expedited wherever possible, for example through the provision of funding and the rapid recruitment of trial participants.  

Fact 2 – Vaccines are safe for younger people

  • The medicines regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has confirmed the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is safe and effective for five- to 17-year-olds and the Moderna vaccine is approved for use by 12-17 year olds. This followed rigorous reviews of the safety, quality and effectiveness of the vaccines for these age groups.
  • Experts at the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) have advised that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine should be offered to children, aged 5 to 11, in at-risk medical groups or who live with someone whose immunity is suppressed.
  • The vaccine has been given to millions of children in a number of countries, including over 8 million in the US. Data from these countries shows that the vaccine is safe.
  • It is important that all young people get their COVID-19 jabs as soon as possible. While COVID-19 is usually mild in most young people, it can be very unpleasant for some and the vaccine provides good protection against severe illness and hospitalisation.
  • Vaccinating young people helps reduce the need for them to have time-off school and reduces disruption to their education, which is good for their welfare and mental health.

Fact 3 – Boosters offer enhanced protection over two doses of a COVID vaccine

  • Getting boosted will increase your protection against severe illness. Latest data shows the boosters provide 92% protection against hospitalisation from Omicron soon after the jab is administered. This protection remains high at around 83% over ten weeks later.
  • We know that protection from just two doses against Omicron wanes significantly and is not enough, so it is important everyone comes forward for their booster when eligible.
  • Vaccinations also provide our best defence against the emergence of new variants which could be even more serious.
  • If you catch COVID-19, there’s also a chance you might get ‘Long Covid’, which can have serious and debilitating long-term effects. More than a million people in the UK are thought to be experiencing symptoms of long COVID-19.

Fact 4 – Vaccines do not contain foetal material

  • The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has published the ingredients of every approved-for-use COVID-19 vaccine, and you can find these online (Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Oxford/AstraZeneca). The vaccine does not contain any foetal cells or material.

Fact 5 Vaccines do not contain animal products

  • The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has confirmed

the vaccines do not contain any animal components and has published a list of all the ingredients online (Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Oxford/AstraZeneca).

Fact 6 – Vaccines are safe for pregnant women

  • Pregnant women are more likely to get seriously ill from COVID-19 and we know that vaccines are safe for them and make a huge difference.
  • COVID-19 vaccines have now been administered to thousands of pregnant women in this country.
  • Almost all pregnant women who were hospitalised or admitted to intensive care with COVID-19 were unvaccinated
  • Pregnant women who do get symptomatic COVID-19 infection are 2 to 3 times more likely to give birth to their baby prematurely, so it is important for expectant mothers to get the jab as soon as possible
  • We now have extensive evidence from the UK to show that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and that the risks posed by COVID-19 are far greater (see detailed evidence here).

Fact 7 – Vaccines do not damage fertility

  • There is no scientific evidence to show that the vaccine can affect fertility, for both men and women.
  • No vaccine has ever affected fertility, and women and men who are considering starting a family can safely receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • There is no need to avoid pregnancy after vaccination, and you can also receive the vaccine if you are pregnant. There is additional helpful information on the website of the British Fertility Society.

Fact 8 – Vaccines protect you

  • The ​​benefits of vaccination greatly outweigh any risks, especially for those who are older or are at risk of serious illness from COVID-19.
  • COVID vaccines have saved countless lives across the country and UKHSA data shows people who are unvaccinated are up to eight times more likely to be hospitalised than those who are fully vaccinated
  • Some people may experience mild side effects after vaccination. These can include a sore arm where injected with the vaccine, feeling tired, achy or a headache. A painkiller like paracetamol will help.

Fact 9 – The vaccine does not show signs of causing blood clots

  • Reports of blood clots are very rare and there is no evidence that COVID vaccines cause blood clots. 
  • As a precautionary measure, the JCVI advises that it is preferable for people under the age of 40 with no underlying health conditions to be offered an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna) rather than an Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.
  • The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is safe, effective and has already saved thousands of lives in the UK and around the world.

Fact 10 – Anyone can get a vaccine

  • Overseas visitors to the UK, including anyone living here, can be tested, treated and vaccinated for COVID-19 for free.
  •  COVID vaccines are free for anyone eligible regardless of whether or not they have an NHS number or proof of address. Walk in centres are available for everyone and GP registration is not required.

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