A man receives the first shot of a coronavirus inoculation at the mass vaccination clinic that opened in March in Auburn. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

The BDN Editorial Board operates independently from the newsroom, and does not set policies or contribute to reporting or editing articles elsewhere in the newspaper or on bangordailynews.com.

People who have yet to receive a COVID vaccination offer a variety of explanations. Some of them are legitimate — they are immunocompromised, they have been unable to take time off work to deal with the expected side effects — and may be addressed through their health care provider or workplace.

Many of the explanations, however, are bunk — based on myths with little or no basis in reality.

In an effort to encourage more Americans to get a COVID vaccine, which is a critical part of slowing the spread of the virus, which is now making a comeback across America, the Boston Globe encouraged newspapers to join their efforts to debunk these myths and spread the message that vaccines remain our best tool to combat COVID-19.

We signed on because we believe it is important that as many Mainers as possible get vaccinated. Maine has one of the highest COVID vaccination rates in the country, with nearly 70 percent of the state’s eligible population inoculated. However, that leaves hundreds of thousands unprotected from the virus, and the more dangerous delta variant.

New cases of COVID are on the rise in Maine. Community spread is high or substantial in all counties except  Kennebec and Androscoggin, according to a BDN analysis. Worse, COVID-related hospitalizations have also increased substantially.

Although there are a lot of concerns about COVID infections in vaccinated people, known as breakthrough cases, it is important to know that the overwhelming majority of recent cases have been among unvaccinated Americans. This is especially the case for recent COVID-related hospitalizations and deaths.

“It can sometimes be hard to recognize the magnitude of events as they’re happening,” the Globe wrote in an editorial Wednesday. “But in all of human history, no infection that kills so many has been conquered so quickly. It’s a staggering achievement. We have, not even two years after the disease first emerged, the kind of preventive measure that those who suffered through thousands of years of plagues and pandemics wished for in vain.

“Now we just need to use it,” the Globe wrote.

The Globe identified five big myths that are discouraging some people from getting vaccinated.

The first is that the mRNA vaccines were developed too quickly to be safe. “But in reality, the mRNA technology behind the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines had been in development for nearly two decades, and a key feature of the technology is its ability to make vaccines quickly,” the Globe wrote.

“In testing the vaccines for safety and efficacy, no corners were cut,” it continued. “The same process was followed as with any vaccine, but to speed things up, drug companies performed different phases of the research simultaneously, instead of sequentially.”

The paper also debunked the myths that the COVID vaccines cause infertility, alter your DNA or have long-term effects. It also countered the notion that young people are better off “trusting their own immune systems.”

“Nothing in life is risk-free. But COVID-19 vaccination is one clear case where the benefits far, far outweigh the risks,” the Globe concluded.

The Globe also talked with Massachusetts people who were reluctant to get vaccinated, but have since done so. One 17-year-old was persuaded by the need for proof of vaccination to travel to see his relatives in Latin America. A 29-year-old nurse got vaccinated after seeing rising cases among her patients and because her colleagues who received the shots had not developed extreme side effects. She called campaigns that offered prizes for getting the shots “offensive.”

Two others who were recently vaccinated worried that the shots would interfere with their other medications or medical conditions. As they learned more about the vaccine — and the dangers of being unvaccinated — they chose the inoculation.

“We all know what’s going on out there, so it’s best for me to have the vaccine,” Lucienne Clerge, 82, of Malden told the Globe.

“The vaccine is a good thing to do right now,” she said. “You’ll feel better when you can start doing the things you weren’t able to do before.”

We couldn’t have said it better.

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The BDN Editorial Board

The Bangor Daily News editorial board members are Publisher Richard J. Warren, Editorial Page Editor Susan Young, Assistant Editorial Page Editor Matt Junker and BDN President Todd Benoit. Young has worked...