Living Well

Myths surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine

Dr. Robert Chugden, Chief Medical Officer
Myths surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine

COVID-19 delta variant cases continue to spike in Louisiana, with our area being one of the hotbeds of infection. While we were all hoping to be ‘getting on’ with our lives by now, this latest outbreak is making that difficult. One thing that would help with this surge is to get more Louisiana residents vaccinated. Currently, the state has the third-lowest rate in the nation of fully vaccinated people who are eligible to get the vaccine. If things don’t turn around and quickly, we could see many changes occurring, like canceled events and new restrictions on seating capacity at indoor events. If we can get that rate up, we can hit this latest surge head-on, but it takes those of you in the community to do your part, and that means getting vaccinated if you have not already done so.

So, what’s true and what’s not?

According to Merriam-Webster, one definition of myth is an unfounded or false notion, and sadly, for a lot of people, they may have heard way too many myths concerning the COVID vaccine. Understandably, some people are hesitant to take the vaccine for one reason or another. Hopefully, the list below will clear up several myths that doctors and other medical professionals believe may be standing in the way of someone rolling up their sleeves and getting the vaccine.

Myths:

The vaccine is unsafe because it was developed and released very quickly

While the development of this vaccine was called Operation Warp Speed, the measures the drug manufacturers used to produce the vaccine did not sidestep any federal regulations. For the first time ever, all phases of drug trials overlapped, which accelerated the process so manufacturers could get it to the market much quicker than usual.

I can get COVID if I take the vaccine

In a one-word answer, no. This vaccine works differently than other vaccines, like the flu shot. The COVID vaccine does not contain the actual live virus; therefore, you can’t get COVID. The way this vaccine works is that it simply instructs your immune system on how to identify COVID viruses and fight them. Those vaccines comprised of mRNA give your body long-term memory on how to recognize and fight the virus in the future.

There have not been enough studies done on the mRNA science

While most people may not realize this, mRNA technology, which is behind two of the three U.S. vaccines, has been in research and studies for more than 20 years. It’s for that reason that the vaccines were able to move forward so quickly because so much research had already been done.

The vaccine can cause infertility

There is currently no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine can result in any issues with pregnancy, and that includes issues with either female or male fertility. If you are trying to get pregnant, it is safe to take the vaccine.

I don’t need a vaccine if I’ve already had COVID

It is true that if you had COVID, it’s recommended that you wait three months to get the vaccine as your body has built up natural immunity to the virus. However, after that period, there is no guarantee on how long immunity lasts, and if not protect with a vaccine, you could possibly be re-infected. The vaccine ensures your body has the immunity it needs.

I don’t need to wear a mask after I’ve been vaccinated

While the mask mandate was lifted a few months ago for those who were fully vaccinated, mask recommendations are now back due to the delta variant. This variant now comprises that huge majority of cases in Louisiana. Transmission of the delta variant also seems to be much greater than the original COVID-19. It is feared that while most vaccinated persons may not become ill, they may still contract the virus and contribute to spreading it. Remember, the virus spreads in respiratory droplets that travel through the air when someone talks, sneezes or coughs, so one of the best ways to protect you and those around you is to continue wearing a mask as it serves as a barrier from droplets getting into your system.

Getting the vaccine is a very personal decision, but I implore those of you who have not done so to reconsider. West Jefferson Medical Center is caring for patients with COVID-19, and the overwhelming majority of them have not been vaccinated. The best thing you can do to protect yourself is to get vaccinated and wear your mask when indoors. We will get through this, but having more of you vaccinated is the first step.

COVID-19 Vaccine Site
4535 Westbank Expy.
Marrero, LA 70072
Monday – Friday
9am - 2pm

COVID-19 Testing Site
4413 Wichers Dr.
Marrero, LA 70072
Monday – Friday
10am - 5pm

About Dr. Robert Chugden
Professional headshot of Dr. Robert ChugdenAs Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Robert Chugden ensures patients receive the highest quality treatment possible by hiring, evaluating and training new physicians. He works closely with physicians, nurses and staff to create and enforce clinical guidelines that help make the Medical Center’s healthcare delivery run smoothly, and he acts as a liaison between the medical staff and the hospital’s executives. For more than 30 years, Dr. Chudgen, board-certified in emergency medicine, has served as an ER physician for West Jefferson Medical Center and as the ER’s Medical Director for 18 years. In addition, he has held various positions with the hospital’s medical committees. Prior to joining West Jefferson, Dr. Chugden was an ER physician at Charity Hospital, St. Jude Medical Center and Hotel Dieu Hospital. He also served as clinical assistant professor of medicine at LSU School of Medicine. Dr. Chugden received his medical degree from LSU and completed his general surgeon residency at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.