5 Dangerous Myths About the Coronavirus Vaccine You Need to Stop Believing

It's time to get the facts straight about the coronavirus vaccine.

If you've been waiting with bated breath for a vaccine for the coronavirus, you're not alone. To many of us, a vaccine represents a return to our "normal" life—and it can't get here fast enough. Yet with the race for a vaccine unfolding in real time in front of us, it can be hard to keep the facts straight about where a vaccine stands.

Myths about how a vaccine will work, who will be able to get it, and when it's coming have made their way into national conversation. A recent poll even found that 44 percent of Republicans and 19 percent of Democrats believe that Microsoft founder Bill Gates is planning to use the vaccine to implant tracking microchips into the American population—the result of an online hoax.

Even if that one sounds outrageous to you, there's a good chance you've been misled somewhere along the way. Read on to get your facts straight about the coronavirus vaccine! And in case you were wondering, This Is How Many People Say They'd Refuse a Coronavirus Vaccine.

Myth: A vaccine will be a silver bullet solution.

Man getting vaccinated

Fact: As The Washington Post so bleakly pointed out this week, COVID-19 may never go away, even if we do get a functioning vaccine. Quite a few diseases are considered endemic, meaning they circulate through the population, despite our best efforts to eliminate them. The article argues that if the vaccine should arrive, it will have to be a part of a broader strategy that also includes social distancing and a comprehensive contact tracing system, as well as quick response systems to outbreaks.

Myth: Once a vaccine is available, everyone will be able to get it.

Vaccination in front of map

Fact: Unfortunately, once a vaccine is developed, we'll still have a long path ahead to the finish line. Scaling it up to meet the needs of the global population and rolling it out is likely to be as difficult a task as its creation—and that would be true even without the systemic imbalances in our global health landscape.

According to a study published in the research journal Nature, we're almost certain to see vast differences in vaccine availability between countries, with the U.S. and other major world powers being first in line to receive it. Even within the U.S., there are likely to be problems with equity in its distribution—at the moment, there are no guarantees that it will be free or even inexpensive, which could make it difficult to distribute fairly. And to find out everything you need to know about the vaccine, check out these 7 Questions About the Coronavirus Vaccine, Answered by Doctors.

Myth: The coronavirus vaccine will be ready in time for school in the fall.

Woman walking kids to school

Fact: While it is true that the timeline for producing a vaccine has been dramatically expedited and National Institute of Allergy and Disease director Anthony Fauci, MD, has said that a vaccine could be available to some as soon as November or December of this year, even this is an extraordinarily ambitious timeline.

Dale Fischer, chair of the World Health Organization (WHO), argues that we're more likely on target to have a vaccine available to the public sometime in 2021. According to Forbes, Albert Bourla, the chief of drug giant Pfizer has described this timeline as a "moon-shot-like-goal."

Myth: Vaccines, including the coronavirus vaccine, cause autism.

Baby being vaccinated

Fact: Source after source—from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to the WHO, to a whole slew of peer-reviewed research—has confirmed that vaccines are not connected to autism.

Autism is considered a developmental and neurobehavioral disorder, which is largely correlated with genetic factors. The nonprofit organization Autism Speaks explicitly states that while environmental factors such as advanced parental age, prematurity at birth, or a lack of prenatal vitamins may be contributing factors, vaccines are in no way responsible for autism. And for more on this, find out why This Former Anti-Vaccine Mom Is Going Viral For Choosing to Vaccinate Her Kids.

Myth: The coronavirus will go away without a vaccine.

Woman wearing mask on thebeach

Fact: Though even President Donald Trump has argued that the coronavirus will disappear without a vaccine when the weather warms, this claim is false. The National Academies of Sciences shared a report that states that the coronavirus is unlikely to become less transmissible in warmer weather—meaning seasonal changes in temperature and humidity will likely have little effect on our current crisis.

Until we have a population that is largely immune, it's essential that we keep following the guidelines to keep everyone safe: wear your mask, practice social distancing, and wash your hands.

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
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