COVID-19 Vaccines: Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19 vaccines are a timely intervention in a health crisis that has put countries, pharmaceutical companies, and researchers on their toes. However, a lot of misconceptions and false information have trailed the development of these vaccines.

The 1996 Pfizer drug trial during the meningitis outbreak in Kano left some children dead and many with life-changing complications like deafness and blindness. Asides from the volume of irregularities surrounding the case, many victims and their families are yet to receive their compensations from the $75 million ($35 million for the victims) settlement paid by Pfizer.

It is understandable that Nigerians are sceptical about taking these vaccines. It is easy not to trust the government or even the international communities. Many Nigerians still have conspiracy theories on the development of the virus in the first place.

This article hopes to provide professional and scientific responses to the frequently asked questions about COVID-19 vaccines.

COvid-19 vaccine myths

  • Are COVID-19 vaccines considered safe?

    • Many people doubt the safety of COVID-19 vaccines on the basis that it was developed too quickly. This is unfounded. A lot was devoted to fast-tracking the development of these vaccines because it was a crisis without compromising the scrutiny and attention to safety.
    • Vaccines undergo rigorous testing in the laboratory, as well as during clinical trials. The World Health Organisation and various national regulatory bodies vet the safety of these vaccines and review the results from the trials. There is a safety and efficacy benchmark for every vaccine. Even after approval, the relevant authorities still monitor the use and safety of these vaccines.  
  • Are there side effects of COVID-19 vaccines?

    • As will most other drugs and vaccines, it is possible to have mild to moderate short-term side effects. This could include pain and redness at the site of injection, fever, fatigue, headache, diarrhoea etc. It is expected that this will pass within a few days.
    • Rarely, there are more severe side effects and allergic reactions to the vaccine. People who have experienced allergic reactions to vaccines in the past need to take necessary precautions
  • What do you do when you have side effects?

    • Take a lot of water (non-alcoholic liquids), get some rest, and paracetamol. If the side effects worsen after 24 hours, you should see a doctor.
  • Why are people still contracting COVID-19 after taking the vaccine?

    • Vaccines are not 100 per cent effective. It is possible to still come down with COVID-19 despite completing your vaccination (vaccine breakthrough cases). This is because vaccination is not a guarantee of full immunization. Vaccination, however, significantly reduces the risk of coming down with the disease. It also protects against severe illness, thus reducing the risk of hospitalization and death.

COVID-19 Vaccines

Read also: COVID-19 Vaccines 90% Effective Against Death

  • Do they protect against the new variants?

    • Yes, studies show they reduce the risk of contracting new variants of COVID-19, including the Delta variant that is more infectious.
  • Can a pregnant or breastfeeding woman take the COVID-19 vaccine?

    • So far, studies have not established whether or not it is 100% safe to administer COVID-19 vaccines to pregnant or breastfeeding women. Vaccination, however, reduces the risk of contracting the virus. Preliminary studieson mRNA vaccines show that it does not increase the risk of losing the pregnancy. There were also no adverse pregnancy-related results during the clinical trial phase.
    • On the other hand, COVID-19 has proven to be quite dangerous in pregnant women. It might then be more reasonable as the benefit could outweigh the risks.
  • Do I need to wear a mask after getting vaccinated?

    • As we have established, vaccination is not 100% effective. It is still very important to still comply with the COVID-19 prevention guidelines, especially in public. Also, you are not considered fully vaccinated until two weeks after taking your complete dose because it takes the body a while to establish immunity against COVID-19.

COVID-19 vaccines

  • Do COVID-19 vaccines contain microchips?

    • No, they do not. Vaccines are developed purely for health reasons, not for surveillance or tracking your movement. A video that has been posted thousands of times on Facebook makes untrue claims about Apiject Systems of America, a syringe manufacturer with a government contract to deliver medical-grade injectable devices for vaccinations.
    • The company offers an extra version of its product that includes a microchip embedded in the syringe label, which allows providers to confirm the provenance of a vaccine dose. The chip isn’t introduced into the person who is receiving the vaccine.
  • Does the vaccine make you magnetic?

    • No, the jab is not magnetic. There is no metallic content in the vaccine, neither does it have any ingredient capable of generating electromagnetic fields.
  • Do I still need to get the vaccine after contracting the coronavirus at least once?

    • This is far from the truth. You should still take the vaccine even when you have had the virus once, as a previous infection does not confer lifelong immunity.
  • Can I get the virus from the vaccine?

    • No, you cannot. The types of COVID-19 vaccines available do not contain the live virus. Hence, you cannot get the virus from the vaccine or test positive as a result of the vaccine.

 Read more: COVID-19 Vaccines and Other Ways to Protect Yourself from COVID-19


  • What other questions do you have about COVID-19 vaccines? Let us know, and we will provide answers for you. Till then, confirm information flying around about the vaccine from reputable authorities like the CDC and NCDC. 


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