With so much information and misinformation making the rounds online, it can feel difficult to distinguish facts from fiction. Get the inside track on the facts with our COVID-19 Vax Facts.
FACT: PATIENTS WHO CATCH THE OMICRON VARIANT RATHER THAN DELTA CAN STILL GET VERY ILL, AND ARE STILL AT RISK OF DYING.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has found that a single vaccination dose reduces the risk of needing hospital treatment due to an Omicron infection by 52%. However, getting all three doses – the first, second, and your booster dose – offers you 88% protection against hospitalisation with the Omicron variant. So, it is more important than ever that you get all vaccination doses you are eligible for.
FACT: UNVACCINATED PEOPLE SADLY HAVE A MUCH HIGHER RISK OF DYING FROM COVID-19.
Data from the Office of National Statistics covering 1 January 2021 to 31 October 2021 shows that patients who received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccination had a 96% lower risk of death involving COVID-19 than unvaccinated people.
FACT: YOU ARE LESS LIKELY TO GET LONG COVID IF YOU HAVE BEEN VACCINATED.
A new review by UKHSA shows that people who have had two doses of the Pfizer, AstraZeneca or Moderna vaccine are about half as likely to develop symptoms of long COVID following infection, compared to people who have received one or no dose of the vaccine.
FACT: THE RISK OF BLOOD CLOTS OR OTHER SERIOUS ADVERSE EFECTS FOLLOWING A COVID-19 VACCINE IS VERY, VERY SMALL.
During 2021 there were reports of an extremely rare but serious condition involving blood clots following AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccination. The risk of this condition is only 1 in 100,000 for people aged 40 and over. People below the age of 40 are not being offered the AZ vaccine as a precaution.
This incredibly rare side effect is only associated with the AZ vaccination. Patients requiring a booster dose will always be offered the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine rather than the AZ vaccination, unless there are clinical reasons not to offer Pfizer or Moderna, such as allergies.
FACT: THE COVID-19 VACCINES ARE SAFE FOR PREGNANT WOMEN AND HAVE NO IMPACT ON FERTILITY.
Since April 2021, around 84,000 pregnant women in the UK have received at least one dose the COVID-19 vaccine. 96.3% of pregnant women who were admitted to hospital with COVID-19 symptoms between May and October 2021 were unvaccinated. 1 in 5 pregnant women who were hospitalised with the virus needed to deliver preterm, and 1 in 5 of their babies needed care in the neonatal unit.
These statistics show it is vital that pregnant women get the COVID-19 vaccine, to protect them and their baby.
FACT: THE COVID-19 VACCINE WILL NOT ALTER YOUR DNA IN ANY WAY.
Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use messenger mRNA. The mRNA tells your cells what to build to defend your body against COVID-19.
Although mRNA does enter your cells, it will never enter into the parts of your cells that hold your DNA – this is called the nucleus. mRNA simply breaks down after delivering its message to your cells, and does not alter your DNA or get in contact with it at any point.
FACT: THE COVID-19 VACCINES CONTAIN NO ANIMAL PRODUCT.
There is no animal product in any of the COVID-19 vaccines that are currently approved for use in the UK. You can have the vaccine if you are vegan, vegetarian, or if you do not consume certain types of meat for religious or cultural reasons.
FACT: IF YOU'VE HAD COVID-19 IN THE PAST, YOU SHOULD STILL GET YOUR VACCINE.
You can still get COVID-19 even if you have had it in the past. If you have had COVID-19, you still need to get your vaccine as getting your first, second and booster dose will give you the best protection from the virus.
Remember that you must wait 28 days after your positive COVID-19 test before getting the vaccine. Children aged 12-15 should wait 12 weeks to get a COVID-19 dose after testing positive, unless they are at high risk of the virus.
FACT: THE VACCINE WENT THROUGH ALL THE APPROPRIATE APPROVALS.
All COVID-19 vaccines that are approved for use in the UK have gone through all the appropriate testing stages and approvals. The vaccines were developed so quickly because the different processes vaccines have to go through were undertaken at the same time in many cases, meaning the full process took less long than it would ordinarily do.
You can find out more about how the COVID-19 vaccines were developed here.