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Should I Get the Covid-19 Vaccine?

Wong Shu Lee  

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  March 03, 2021

Covid-19 vaccines have started to arrive in Malaysia. Though the access priority is given to those frontliners in the health sector, enforcement agencies and teachers, everyone is able to start registering for the vaccination via the MySejahtera application. In another 2 weeks, MySejahtera will also allow users to register their parents who do not have MySejahtera for the vaccination. 

 

However, public registration for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme remains overwhelmingly low at just over six per cent, according to Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Khairy Jamaluddin yesterday. 

 

Ever since Pfizer announced their success in developing the Covid-19 vaccines, people around the globe have been sharing a lot of claims, misinformation and even conspiracy theories. These can explain why the registration rate for the immunisation programme is so low, despite being free of charge. 

 

Below are the top myths and facts about Covid-19 vaccines: 

 

Myth: The Covid-19 vaccines aren’t safe because they were rapidly developed. 

 

Fact: Many pharmaceutical companies, government bodies and non-government organisations poured in significant resources into quickly developing a vaccine for Covid-19 because of the worldwide effects of the pandemic. 

 

The emergency situation warranted an emergency response, but that doesn’t mean that companies bypassed safety protocols or performed inadequate testing. 

 

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Myth: I already had Covid-19, so I don’t need to get the vaccine. 

 

Fact: There is not enough information currently available to say if, or for how long, after infection someone is protected from getting Covid-19 again. This is called natural immunity. Early evidence suggests natural immunity from Covid-19 may not last very long, but more studies are needed. 

 

Therefore, those who had Covid-19 previously are still advised to get the vaccine. However, they should delay vaccination until about 90 days from diagnosis.

 

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Myth: Pregnant women and breastfeeding mums should not take the Covid-19 vaccine. 

 

Fact: There is limited data about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines for people who are pregnant. Pregnant people are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 and may be at risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes. If you are pregnant and your work places you at a high risk for COVID-19 infection you should discuss the benefits and risks of the vaccine with doctors. 

 

Currently, there are no data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in breastfeeding people or on the effects of mRNA vaccines on the breastfed infant or on milk production/excretion, however mRNA vaccines are not thought to be a risk to the breastfeeding infant. Although definitive data are not yet available, maternal antibodies passed to the infant via breast milk may provide protection as seen with antibodies to other viruses. Breastfeeding people should discuss the benefits and risks of the vaccine with doctors.

 

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Myth: The Covid-19 vaccines have severe side effects.

 

Fact: Just like many other vaccines, the Covid-19 vaccines have been shown to have short-term mild or moderate vaccine reactions that resolve without complication or injury. 

 

About 15% of people developed short-lived symptoms at the site of the injection. Half developed systemic reactions – primarily, headache, chills, fatigue or muscle pain or fever lasting a day or two. 

 

These side effects are indications that your immune system is responding to the vaccine and these are common when receiving any types of vaccines. 

 

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Myth: More people will die as a result of a negative side effect to the vaccines than would actually die from the Covid-19. 

 

Fact: There is a claim circulating on social media that Covid-19’s mortality rate is 1-2% and that people should not be vaccinated against a virus with such a high survival rate. 

 

As per what we mentioned above, some people may develop symptoms after the vaccination as their immune system responds. However, this is a common reaction when receiving any vaccine and these symptoms are not life-threatening. 

 

Keep in mind that you cannot get Covid-19 from the Covid-19 vaccines – they are inactivated vaccines, not live vaccines.

 

It’s also important to recognise that getting vaccinated for Covid-19 is not just about survival from the disease. It’s about preventing the spread of the virus to others and preventing infection that can lead to long-term negative health effects. 

 

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Besides these common myths, there are also many conspiracy theories being circulated about the vaccines. The most ridiculous thing that I’ve read is there are people saying the Pfizer vaccine was developed to control the general population either through microchip tracking or nano transducers in our brains. Perhaps those who believe in this should stop reading Science fiction and read more research papers. 

 

Don’t forget, Covid-19 can have serious, life-threatening complications, and there is no way to know how Covid-19 will affect you. And if you get sick, you could spread the disease to friends, family, and others around you. 

 

Many people have already been affected by this global pandemic. Some lost their jobs, some lost their family members and some lost their lives. We’re blessed that our government is ensuring us to have injections of the Covid-19 vaccines for free. Let’s take the responsibility as a rakyat to support this effort by registering for the vaccinations. 

 

#kitajagakita

 

[Information Source: Mayo Clinic]

 

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