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COVID-19 Vaccine Myths Debunked

January 21, 2021

Sourced from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)


As you know a massive COVID-19 vaccine distribution is underway across the country. It’s possible you may have heard claims about the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines on social media or from the people in your life that might make you hesitant about its safety or effectiveness. When in doubt, stick to information from trusted medical sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization and scientific or medical groups. Here are the truths behind some of the myths that have been circulating online or in the community. 

Myth: I already had COVID-19 and I have recovered, so I don't need to get a COVID-19 vaccine when it's available.

Fact: Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, vaccine should be offered to you regardless of whether you already had COVID-19 infection. Experts still do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity (protection against the virus that causes COVID-19) someone gains from having an infection, called natural immunity, varies from person to person. Some early evidence suggests natural immunity may not last very long. We won’t know how long immunity produced by vaccination lasts until we have more data on how well the vaccines work.

Myth: There are severe side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines.

Fact: You may have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. These side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. Common side effects include: pain and swelling on the arm where you got the shot, fever, chills, tiredness, and headache. 

Myth: A COVID-19 vaccine will make me sick with COVID-19.

Fact: None of the authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines or COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19. It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means it’s possible a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and still get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.

Myth: I won't need to wear a mask after I get vaccinated for COVID-19.

Fact: While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions, it will be important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to us to help stop this pandemic, like covering your mouth and nose with a mask, washing hands often, and staying at least 6 feet away from others.

Myth: COVID-19 vaccines will alter my DNA.

Fact: No. COVID-19 mRNA vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way. Messenger RNA vaccines—also called mRNA vaccines—are the first COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the U.S. mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response. The mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept. This means the mRNA cannot affect or interact with our DNA in any way. Instead, COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to disease. At the end of the process, our bodies have learned how to protect against future infection. That immune response and making antibodies is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.

Areas of Related Interest

DKH Responds to Coronavirus
Vaccines at DKH
Vaccine Eligibility, Phases & Timelines
Pregnancy and the COVID-19 Vaccine
Get Tested for COVID-19


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