Vaccine researcher discusses myths about COVID-19 vaccine

Only half of American adults say they plan to get vaccinated against the novel coronavirus, once a COVID-19 vaccine is approved, according to a recent Gallup poll.

Pediatric disease specialist Dr. Robert Frenck of Cincinnati Children's Hospital, who is studying two experimental COVID vaccines, says there are a couple of misconceptions about the COVID-19 vaccines he's helping to test.

One is that getting the vaccine can give you the virus.

"None of the COVID vaccines can give you COVID," Dr. Frenck says.  "It's not a live vaccine, so it cannot give you COVID."

Dr. Frenck is part of a team of researchers studying the Pfizer and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine candidates, which are now in phase 3 clinical trials.

"Some people have gotten worried about the name Operation Warp Speed, thinking that means you're cutting corners," Dr. Frenck says.  "That's just not true. We're going through all the same safety measures, and we're watching to see how things are going.  Where things are being compressed, not cutting corners, but compressed is that people are working 7 days a week."

Franck sees the recent pausing of two of the vaccine trials after individual volunteers became ill during the study as a sign the FDA and the vaccine manufacturers are putting safety first.

"We don't want to push forward with a vaccine that we don't feel comfortable has a good safety profile," he says.

Getting a flu shot won't protect you against the novel coronavirus.

Still, the US is seeing a record surge in new infections, over 100,000 a day for the last few days, and the winter ahead could be a rough one.

So, Dr. Frenck says getting vaccinated against the seasonal flu is more important than ever.

"Because if you can have a vaccine that is getting at least one of the viruses out of the way, so we're decreasing cases of the flu, it will make it easier for your doctor," Frenck says.  "Because, clinically, there is no way to differentiate between COVID and flu. They look very similar.