MYTH: COVID-19 vaccines are not safe.
FACT: COVID-19 vaccines are safe and went through full review by experts.

Safety is a top priority of the Health Canada vaccine safety development and approval process. The development process for COVID-19 vaccines involved several steps comparable with those used to develop other vaccines such as the flu or measles vaccine, which have successfully protected millions of people for decades. Health Canada as well as independent medical experts on the National Advisory Committee on Immunizations (NACI) have ensured that every detail of COVID-19 vaccines is thoroughly and rigorously evaluated. Evidence shows that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and work to prevent COVID-19.

MYTH: COVID-19 vaccines were rushed; not thoroughly tested.
FACT: The COVID-19 vaccine development and clinical trials were thorough, and developed quickly thanks to streamlined processes and a worldwide effort.

There have been no shortcuts in the vaccine development process. The process has been quicker as a result of strategic efforts to run concurrent trial phases, as well as a commitment to help condense timelines and reduce or eliminate months-long waiting periods during which documents would be prepared or be waiting for review. Vaccine manufacturers and the scientific
community globally dropped everything to develop a vaccine. The CEOs of AstraZeneca, BioNTech, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Moderna, Novavax, Pfizer, and Sanofi made a historic pledge to the world, outlining a united commitment to uphold the integrity of the scientific process as they work toward potential regulatory filings and approvals of the first COVID-19 vaccines. Although the COVID-19 vaccines themselves have been developed recently, the technology used in messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines, like those developed by Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna, has been studied for decades and carried out in early-stage clinical trials for influenza, Zika, rabies, and cytomegalovirus (CMV). The missing link to developing this vaccine was learning the genomic sequence of the coronavirus.

mRNA Vaccines (Moderna/Pfizer)

The mRNA from COVID-19 vaccines can most easily be described as a set of instructions (or recipe) for your body on how to make a harmless piece of “spike protein” to allow our immune systems to recognize that this protein doesn’t belong there and begin building an immune response and making antibodies. Essentially, COVID-19 vaccines that use mRNA work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to the virus, giving your cells a blueprint of how to make antibodies.

Viral Vector Vaccines

Viral vector vaccines use a modified version of a different virus (the vector) to deliver important instructions to our cells. For COVID-19 viral vector vaccines, the vector (not the virus that causes
COVID-19, but a different, harmless virus) will enter a cell in our body and then use the cell’s machinery to produce a harmless piece of the virus that causes COVID-19. This piece is known as a spike protein and it is only found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19. Our immune system recognizes it doesn’t belong there and begins producing antibodies.

MYTH: The COVID-19 vaccines will alter my DNA or genetic makeup.
FACT: Receiving an mRNA Vaccine like Moderna or Pfizer or a Viral Vector Vaccine like AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD will not alter your DNA.

Neither Messenger ribonucleic acid, or mRNA or Viral Vector vaccines alter or modify a person’s genetic makeup (DNA). They never enter the nucleus of the cell where your DNA is kept, and therefore do not affect or interact with your DNA in any way.

MYTH: COVID-19 vaccines will be mandatory for everyone in living at NCN.
FACT: There is currently no NCN government mandate to get the COVID-19 vaccine but this issue is being reviewed.

Chief and Council urges everyone to get the COVID vaccine to help us return back to normal sooner. Canada and the other G7 Nations are looking at issues related to the issuance of vaccine passports and other matters. Employers and Schools may require mandatory vaccinations similar to the flu shot or any other vaccines. Chief and Council will consider more information about mandatory vaccination as it becomes available and will seek input from the community about the pros and cons of being required to be vaccinated to be able to enter NCN Lands, work for NCN or NCN Entities, attend ATEC and K-12 schools and daycares once there is a vaccine for children and youth.

MYTH: You can get the virus from COVID-19 vaccines.
FACT: The vaccines will not give you COVID-19.

None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently approved use the live virus that causes COVID-19. The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are messenger ribonucleic acid, or mRNA, vaccines. The goal of these COVID-19 vaccines is to teach our immune systems how to build a protein. In this case, it’s telling your body to make the spike protein that’s on the coronavirus. The proteins your body makes are solitary, and they do not connect or reproduce. Then your immune system recognizes the protein as foreign and develops antibodies to destroy it. Your immune system remembers the protein and is ready to attack and eliminate the virus that causes COVID-19. It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination, and some vaccines require two doses. That means it is possible that a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before, or just after, getting the vaccination and become sick, since it takes the vaccine time to provide protection.

MYTH: If I have recovered from COVID-19, I don’t need to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
FACT: People who have recovered from COVID-19 may still benefit from getting vaccinated.

At this time, experts do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19, and because re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, people may be advised to get a COVID-19 vaccine even if they have been sick with COVID-19 before. The immunity someone gains from having an infection, called natural immunity, varies from person to person. Both natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity are important aspects of COVID-19 that experts are trying to learn more about, and Health Canada, the National Advisory Committee on Immunizations and the Manitoba Vaccine Task Force are continually reviewing the data and we will keep NCN informed as new evidence becomes available.

MYTH: COVID-19 isn’t very serious, so I don’t need to get the vaccine.
FACT: The severity of COVID-19 symptoms varies widely and getting vaccinated can help prevent infection with COVID-19.

While many people with COVID-19 have only a mild illness, others may get a severe illness or die. There is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you, even if you are not at increased risk of severe complications. Also, if you get COVID-19, you may spread the disease to friends, family, and others around you while you are sick. COVID-19 vaccination helps protect you by allowing your body to create an antibody response without having to experience sickness.

MYTH: You will get a positive COVID-19 viral test if you receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
FACT: COVID-19 vaccines will not cause you to test positive on COVID-19 viral tests.

The vaccines do not contain live virus and won’t cause you to test positive on a PCR or antigen test, which are used to see if you have a current infection. If your body develops an immune response, which is the goal of vaccination, there is a possibility you may test positive on some antibody tests. Antibody tests indicate you had a previous infection and that you may have some level of protection against the virus. Experts are currently looking at how COVID-19 vaccination may affect antibody testing results.

MYTH: Other vaccines, like the flu shot, will prevent COVID-19.
FACT: Only vaccines designed specifically to prevent COVID-19 will protect you from the virus.

Other vaccines, such as those for flu, measles, or other diseases, will not protect you from COVID-19. Only the vaccines designed specifically to protect you from COVID-19, once approved for use by Health Canada, can prevent it. While a flu vaccine will not prevent you from getting COVID-19, it can prevent you from getting influenza (flu) at the same time as COVID-19.

MYTH: There will not be enough vaccines for everyone.
FACT: As production of vaccine continues to grow, every NCN Citizen and resident on NCN Lands who chooses to get one will be able to do so.

Health Canada has granted emergency use authorization for four COVID-19 vaccines so far. Initially, there will be a limited number of doses available, with prioritization of administration to populations at the highest risk. Canada and Manitoba have committed to making the vaccine widely available, for those who want to receive it, as quickly as possible as supply increases. In time, as
vaccine production ramps up and large quantities are available, every Manitoba resident who chooses to do so will be able to get vaccinated. But as supply is limited, vaccine administration will initially target specific high-risk populations.

MYTH: COVID-19 vaccines will implant tracking microchips in people.
FACT: Vaccine injections do not contain tracking microchips.

No vaccine injections or nasal sprays – including the shots for COVID-19 – contain microchips, nanochips, RFID trackers, or devices that would track or control your body in any way. Much like the way any shipment or delivery is tracked, shipments of vaccine doses will be monitored as they are shipped and administered across the country. However, the notion that these shots will contain tracking devices implanted into people is false.

MYTH: COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility or other serious medical problems.
FACT: The vaccines do not cause infertility and side effects, such as inflammation at the injection site, mean the vaccine is working.

No serious safety concerns were observed in the clinical trials for the four approved vaccines. The most common side effects were fatigue, headache, soreness or redness at the injection site, and muscle or joint pain. Side effects like these, while unpleasant, are a sign that your body is responding properly to create immunity from the virus that causes COVID-19.

MYTH: My children will be forced to get a vaccine.
FACT: Children are not yet eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines.

NCN is examining the issues related to mandating COVID-19 vaccines, but at this time, the COVID-19 vaccines that have received emergency use authorizations are not recommended for children
or youth. While additional clinical trial data is being gathered, children, like adults, should wear a mask, watch their distance, wash their hands, and avoid congregating in groups in order to protect themselves from COVID-19.

MYTH: Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not get COVID-19 vaccines.
FACT: Pregnant and breastfeeding women may choose to be vaccinated.

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC) indicated that COVID-19 vaccinations should be offered to pregnant and/or breastfeeding individuals who are at high-risk of infection and/ or may experience serious complications from COVID-19. They have determined that the risk of not getting the vaccine is greater than the risks if a person gets COVID-19. There is currently no safety data specific to use in pregnancy or during breast feeding but there is some data on the impact of COVID-19 on pregnant women. Manitoba has identified the following risk factors for experiencing severe COVID-19 in pregnant women:

  • Age (35 years and older)
  • Asthma
  • Obesity
  • Pre-pregnancy diabetes
  • Pre-pregnancy high blood pressure
  • Heart disease

MYTH: Once I get a vaccine, I can stop wearing a mask and social distancing.
FACT: You should continue to wear a mask and practice social distancing even after being vaccinated.

The vaccine will protect you from getting ill from COVID-19, however, not enough is known about whether or not you can still carry the virus and spread it to others. Also, children and youth will not initially be vaccinated so it is very important that those who get the vaccine continue to wear masks and practice social distancing.

MYTH: Vaccines cause autism.
FACT: Vaccines do not cause autism.

Studies conducted across the globe continue to show that there is no connection between autism and vaccines.

MYTH: The internet has lots of information about the vaccine but I don’t know which information to believe.
FACT: Chief and Council and the NCN Family and Community Wellness Centre try to provide accurate, up to date information to NCN Citizens and residents.

It can be difficult to know which sources of information you can trust. The internet, unfortunately, is filled with dangerous misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines. The best thing you can do is educate yourself about the vaccines with trustworthy information. Chief and Council and the Family and Community Wellness Centre will continue to try to provide the most current, accurate information as it becomes available.