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VERIFY: Expert answers your questions about the COVID-19 vaccine

A lot of people are still nervous about the safety of the coronavirus vaccines so our VERIFY team is taking their concerns to the experts.

HOUSTON — “Is the coronavirus vaccine safe?” “Does it contain fetal tissue?”  These are just some of the questions submitted to the VERIFY team this week. We took them to Houston Methodist Chief Academic Officer Dr. Dirk Sostman.

CLAIM: More people will die as a result of a negative side effect to the COVID-19 vaccine than will die from the virus itself.

FALSE. “The risk of getting ill, dying or having long-term disability from getting infected with COVID-19 is so much greater," Dr. Sostman said.

CLAIM: The vaccine has bigger risks than getting the virus and letting it run its course.

FALSE. "The vaccine has not killed anyone and is unlikely to. It is so much more dangerous to get COVID-19 than it is to get the vaccine," Dr. Sostman said.

CLAIM: COVID19 vaccines are not safe because they were developed and tested quickly.

FALSE. “COVID-19 vaccines were really developed really fast, and it’s kind of a triumph of modern technology. But they have had the same safety and efficacy research done that any other vaccine has to go through," Dr. Sostman explained. "The gold standard of the randomized assignment, placebo, controlled clinical trial is being done in all these vaccines, and that’s what the FDA always relies upon to determine whether to authorize a vaccine.”

CLAIM: It is possible to make an effective vaccine in one year?

TRUE: “The Pfizer company and the Moderna Company have shown that to be the case, and several other companies are pretty close to that timetable," Dr. Sostman said.

CLAIM: The COVID-19 vaccines that are currently being used in the United States were developed using fetal tissue.

FALSE: “The COVID-19 vaccines that are either approved or up for approval in the United States were not developed -- nor do they use in any way, shape or form -- any fetal tissue," the doctor said.

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