By Amy Armanious DNP, MSOL, RN

 This spring, many of us in the USA witnessed hope with the positive COVID news that people were getting vaccinated and hence less serious illness and death. Families were once again able to get together with loved ones and enjoy celebrations such as college and high school graduations, bridal and baby showers, weddings, family reunions, and etc. Several workplaces, faith communities, and other organizations lifted their strict safety precautions especially for those who were fully vaccinated. Face masks did not need to be worn by fully vaccinated persons while indoors. Physical distancing was loosened and grandparents could receive long-awaited hugs from grandchildren. Life was beginning to make a turn back to “normal.”

In the summer months, families traveled to beach vacation spots, enjoyed amusement parks, attended outside concerts, and celebrated national holidays with picnics and backyard barbeques. Retail shops, restaurants, and bakeries were back in business. In return, life seemed fun and relaxed as it should be in the summer. In return, more and more unvaccinated individuals began to question why they needed to get vaccinated since “herd immunity” was around the corner. Instead of following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, many persons decided not to receive their free vaccine since they were essentially “healthy.” Also, there was a fear growing among the public because the vaccine was approved for “emergency use” by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). Many parents were questioning whether or not to subject their teenager to the COVID vaccine even though the CDC approved vaccination beginning at age 12.

Throughout these past 6 months, many myths have surfaced about the COVID vaccine. This has led to severe consequences for many individuals… even to the point of their own death or the death of a loved one. So many unvaccinated individuals have admitted that they “made a mistake” by not taking the time to get their vaccine. Then later, they had to bear the consequences of illness and putting their family through emotional suffering.

As faith community nurses, health ministers, clergy, spiritual leaders, and lay ministers in our faith communities, we are called to be role models in not only receiving the COVID vaccine but in teaching others via correct information. At this point, there’s no argument about which brand (Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, and      J & J/Janssen) of vaccine to receive but “just take it now before it’s too late.” Informal teaching (1:1) and setting a good example are the best ways to encourage and support others as they decide whether or not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. We are called to spiritually listen with our ears, minds, and hearts to those who are fearful of receiving this particular vaccine. Sometimes, the fear becomes paralyzing for certain individuals and they need someone to show them empathy, mercy, and a little TLC (tender loving care). A favorite quote about mercy is by John Bunyan “Since God has mercies to give, and He intends to give them to us, those mercies are not broken pieces or someone else’s leftovers…. God has bags that were never untied, never opened up, but set aside through a thousand generations for those who hope in His mercy.” With displaying humility, spiritual leaders can help navigate others from darkness into light as they resolve many myths and unanswered questions about the COVID-19 vaccine.

So, as we move forward into our autumn season, let’s be cognizant of showing mercy and spending time nullifying these 10 common myths about the COVID-19 vaccine. The answer to each question is “no”.

  • Can a COVID-19 vaccine make me sick with COVID?
  • Can the CDC mandate that a person gets the COVID-19 vaccine?
  • Will getting a COVID-19 vaccine cause me to test positive for COVID-19 on a viral test?
  • Will a COVID-19 vaccine alter my DNA?
  • Does COVID-19 vaccine cause female and male fertility problems?
  • Do COVID-19 vaccines in the USA shed or release any of their components?
  • Is there a magnetic chip in the COVID-19 vaccine?
  • Can being near someone who received the COVID-19 vaccine affect my menstrual cycle?
  • Lactating people should not receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
  • Pregnant people who receive the COVID-19 vaccine report different side-effects than non-pregnant people?    

As you enter into conversations with those who are unvaccinated and they express concerns related to the questions listed above, I urge you to use these two website resources to help support the information you share.