Myth: The vaccine affects your period/fertility.
Dr Aruna Muralidhar, obstetrician and gynecologist says that anecdotally, there are some women who have reported heavier periods after the vaccine and that this could be a response of the body to the activation of immunity after the vaccine. “Menstrual cycle is also known to be sensitive to changes in the body like stress,” she says.
There are several studies to prove that vaccination against covid does not affect fertility, she adds.
Myth: Do not take the vaccine during your period.
“The vaccine may be taken during the periods and there is no evidence currently that it would affect the flow or the next cycle in any way,” says Dr Aruna.
Myth: The vaccine ‘sheds’. Unvaccinated people who are near vaccinated ones can experience side effects.
“The vaccine is actually just mRNA which is a messenger to make the spike protein that triggers immune response in our bodies. Once the protein is produced, the mRNA is destroyed by the cells. Hence, the vaccine does not contain the virus and there is no question of a vaccinated person shedding the virus. It is entirely a myth,” explains Dr Aruna.
Myth: The vaccine is still under clinical trials so it can’t be trusted
“In a pandemic-like situation a vaccine is the best defence. The virus will constantly find a way to propagate itself,” says Dr Sheela Chakravarthy, director, internal medicine. If we wait for the regular timeline of clinical trials, it would take years and so many more lives would be lost by then, she says.
“All of the vaccines have been released under EUA - Emergency use authorisation. Which means that the first trial is done and they have preliminary data,” says Dr Ravindra M Mehta, head of department, pulmonology and interventional pulmonology.
But that does not mean the vaccine is not to be trusted? “Whatever information is present at the time is positive and robust enough to say that we have to proceed with vaccination,” he says.
Dr Subrata Das, senior consultant, internal medicine and diabetology adds that an approval by ICMR and FDA itself means that it has gone through reasonable trials that assure either safety.
“There are miniscule risks that come with vaccines and compared to the risks of covid, it’s negligible,” says Dr Sheela. She adds that she has seen over a lakh of people get vaccinated and not come across anyone with serious complications.
Myth: You don’t need to take the vaccine after you get Covid.
“Your immunity wanes over time. Ideally you wait for 30 days after the infection to get the vaccine. In countries where there is a vaccine shortage this period has also been extended to 90 days,” Dr Ravindra explains.
Myth: You don’t need to follow protocols after getting vaccinated.
Dr Sheela says that following protocols post vaccination is of utmost importance. “There is still a chance of infection but the symptoms will range only from mild to moderate. But more importantly you can still be a carrier of the virus. So while you may not catch it, you can pass it on to others,” she warns.
Myth: The vaccine changes your DNA.
“No, it does not. All it does is make your body’s immune system make antibodies against the virus. That’s a completely wrong assumption,” says Dr Subrata.
Insufficient data: It is not effective on the new variants.
Viruses have a notorious capability to change it’s structure for survival.
“It’s not possible for us to keep up with it by constantly changing the vaccine. At a given point of time whatever strains are causing the infection, the majority have been effectively tackled with the vaccines we have in India,” says Dr Vishwanath
Bellad, consultant pulmonologist.
Dr Subrata says that they are expecting that there will be a reasonable reduction in the severity of the infection even if vaccinated people are affected by the new variants.
“Maybe one or two variants can escape past the vaccine immunity. Our best bet is to isolate the areas which have been infected by the variants and let the virus die it’s natural death,” says Dr Sheela.
Insufficient data: There will be long-term effects.
Historically, vaccines can very very rarely cause long term effects. So it is a possibility, says Dr Subrata. Dr Ravindra adds the suspicion is very low for long term effects.
“More than 12 crore doses have been given and there’s nothing very alarming that has happened,” adds Dr Vishwanath.