Covid vaccine myths DEBUNKED: Is the vaccine safe, can it alter your DNA, is it tested?

Vaccine could be rolled out ‘by end of winter’ says expert

Vaccination is now underway in four countries and counting, as they fast-track approval of the Pfizer jab and start fighting back against Covid-19. Significant uptake over the next year or so should allow the world to finally shake free of the pandemic and welcome a return to ‘normal’ life. But anti-vaccination sentiment has taken root in the minds of some people, who have stated they will refuse to inoculate themselves.

Curiosity and confusion is rife in the time of Covid-19, with everyone searching for some security and a semblance of control.

Questioning is smart, but combined with anxiety can cause people to draw far-fetched answers.

Some unfounded theories which sprout from real concern have now attached them to the potentially life-saving Pfizer vaccine.

But thankfully, they all have simple, reassuring explanations which if taken to heart should end the pandemic earlier and usher in a sooner return to ‘normal’ life than entertaining conspiracy.

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Is the Covid vaccine safe?

Vaccination experts with Pfizer found “no serious concerns” in people they tested aged 16 and over.

People may experience some side effects as they would with the flu jab, such as pain at the site of injection, fatigue or fever.

All of these potential symptoms should pass within 24 hours.

Some people may also experience an allergic reaction to the jab, and authorities have advised people not to take it if they have a history of anaphylactic reactions or carry an EpiPen.

Can the coronavirus vaccine alter your DNA?

The Covid vaccine uses a groundbreaking mechanism to programme messenger RNA, otherwise known as mRNA, to respond to Covid 19.

RNA is not DNA but acts as a temporary copy of the latter which produces proteins, and these proteins help grow and repair cells.

RNA progresses from DNA, and then degrades, meaning it cannot alter DNA, and technology is not advanced enough to force this change.

Zain Chagla, an associate professor of medicine at McMaster University, told CBC News it is “not possible” to change DNA with RNA.

He said: “In humans, the progression is always DNA to RNA to protein. You can’t go from RNA back to DNA in human cells.”

He added: “It’s not possible because we just don’t have the machinery to deal with it.

“So there should not be concerns about the RNA vaccine somehow getting into the human DNA and transforming it.”

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Has the Covid vaccine been fully tested?

The vaccine has received intensive testing both in clinical trials in the US and the individual countries which use it.

Pfizer trialled tens of thousands of people and found no cause for concern amongst those taking it, in any of the three months-long phases.

And the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), also conducted “rigorous” testing before they approved public use.

Was testing for the Covid vaccine rushed through?

Testing for the Covid-19 vaccine broke development records, leading to fears it may have been “rushed”.

But in reality, the extenuating circumstances of the pandemic allowed researchers to utilise emergency funding, concentrating global resources into a single endeavour.

They did all the research and development required for other vaccines, but the enhanced funding allowed them to do this in a smaller time frame.

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