Boots Pharmacists from BAME Communities Dispel Common COVID-19 Vaccine Myths

Experts hope to reassure patients within their local communities

23 March 2021: With uptake of the vaccine lower among black and minority ethnic groups compared to white ethnicities, Boots pharmacists from BAME communities have provided expert advice on some of the most common myths surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine. They hope to reassure patients within their local communities and encourage those being invited by the NHS to book their COVID-19 vaccination appointments.

Myth #1: The vaccine contains a microchip 

“There is zero evidence to rumours that the vaccine contains a microchip or any other kind of surveillance tracker. The COVID-19 vaccine has been approved by independent medicines organisations around the world and none have found any of these kinds of devices in them.”

Myth #2: The vaccine contains pork and alcohol 

“I get this question a lot in the pharmacy from patients with religious dietary restrictions. None of the vaccines contain any ingredients derived from animals – so there is no pork, beef or anything else. Some of the vaccines – like Oxford/AstraZeneca – contain naturally occurring alcohol, but at an amount that is less than you would find in a slice of bread! The British Islamic Medical Association and the Mosque and Imams National Advisory Board have said this is permitted and are encouraging Muslims to get vaccinated.”

Myth #3: The vaccine will affect my DNA

“I think this myth about the vaccine tampering with our DNA has really taken hold because some of the vaccines use a new technology called mRNA. The mRNA ingredient – found in Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna – teach our cells to make proteins that trigger our immune system to defend us against the virus. The mRNA is not able to enter the nucleus of our body’s cells, which is where our DNA is stored. After a few days, the mRNA is broken down and removed, by which time our bodies have produced a lot of protein to stimulate the immune response.”

Myth #4: The vaccine couldn’t have been developed in such a short space of time

“The fast development of the COVID-19 vaccine was definitely unprecedented! But that’s because of the global effort and investment that went into this. It was made a priority for governments around the world due to the impact of coronavirus on healthcare systems and economies, as we’ve all seen. That doesn’t mean that trials were any less rigorous though – and the vaccines are approved by the UK’s medicines regulatory body, MHRA.” 

Myth #5: The vaccination doesn’t work for people from BAME backgrounds

“There’s no evidence that either of the two vaccines being administered widely in the UK work differently according to ethnicity. In fact, 11 per cent of people that took part in the clinical trials for the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and 13 per cent for the Pfizer-BioNTech were from African-Caribbean and Asian backgrounds. No differences in effectiveness were reported in these trials based on ethnicity.”

Myth #6: the vaccine makes you sick after you take it and can have long term side effects

“You may experience mild side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Common ones include tenderness, swelling and/or redness in your arm, headaches and tiredness that can last for a couple of days. But the vaccine has been thoroughly tested in clinical trials to make sure it is safe, with no long-term complications reported.”

Myth #7: The vaccine can make you infertile

“If you are planning to start a family there is no need to worry about getting a COVID-19 vaccine – there is no clinical evidence to suggest that it affects male or female fertility. I think this myth has spread because right now, pregnant women are not routinely being offered the vaccine. That is because the vaccines haven’t yet been tested in pregnant women, so until more information is available, expecting mothers will not be routinely vaccinated. If you are pregnant and think you are at high risk of catching the infection or have clinical conditions that may put you  at high risk of suffering serious complications from COVID-19, you should discuss the vaccination with your doctor or nurse.”


For further information, or to arrange interviews with a local Boots Pharmacist, please contact Karun Jung or Andriana Toneva at Sassy:        | +44 (0) 7725 940 179   | +44 (0) 7761 255 487 

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