Debunking Common COVID-19 Vaccine Myths

Misinformation on the COVID-19 vaccines is prevalent, and it can be difficult to know what’s true and what’s not. Here, family physicians bust the most common COVID-19 vaccine myths.

Myth 1: You can delay routine vaccinations.

Routine childhood and adult vaccinations are important for maintaining health. Vaccines prevent additional disease outbreaks during the pandemic. Talk with your family physician about concerns you have, and what vaccines you or your family need for the best protection.

Myth 2: The COVID-19 vaccines were developed too fast to be safe.

The technology used to develop the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines is not new. It has been extensively studied and used in cancer research. Additionally, mRNA vaccines have been studied for other infections including Zika, flu, and HIV. Read more from the CDC.

The clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccines were done with the same strictness as all vaccine trials. The results have been reviewed and approved by multiple independent advisory panels. The vaccines were developed faster due to increased collaboration and use of newer technology. Researchers also had more funding due to the severity of the pandemic.

Myth 3: There weren’t enough participants in the clinical trials to say the vaccines are safe.

This is not true. The currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines enrolled tens of thousands of participants. Many of them were followed for two months after receiving the second vaccine. To receive an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), all COVID-19 vaccines must meet rigorous standards for safety and efficacy as outlined by the FDA.

After authorization, the CDC, FDA, and other groups continue actively monitoring for safety concerns. There have been a few cases of blood clots plus low platelet counts occurring.  These cases are rare, so the CDC continues to recommend the vaccine. Learn more about COVID-19 Vaccine safety.

Myth 4: I’ve already had COVID-19, so I don’t need to get the vaccine.

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine after having COVID-19 provides additional protection against the virus. People who already had COVID-19 and did not get vaccinated after their recovery are more likely to get COVID-19 again than those who get vaccinated after their recovery. Learn more about Getting Your COVID-19 Vaccine.

Myth 5: The COVID-19 vaccines will alter my DNA.

COVID-19 vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way. This is not possible. Both messenger RNA (mRNA) and viral vector COVID-19 vaccines work by delivering instructions (genetic material) to our cells to start building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19.

After the body produces an immune response, it discards all the vaccine ingredients just as it would discard any information that cells no longer need. This process is a part of normal body functioning.

The genetic material delivered by mRNA vaccines never enters the nucleus of your cells, which is where your DNA is kept. Viral vector COVID-19 vaccines deliver genetic material to the cell nucleus to allow our cells to build protection against COVID-19. However, the vector virus can’t integrate its genetic material into our DNA. This means it cannot change our DNA.

Myth 6: COVID-19 vaccines will make me infertile.

There is currently no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination causes any problems with pregnancy or getting pregnant. In addition, there is no evidence that fertility problems result from any other vaccines.

Myth 7: COVID-19 vaccines were developed to deliver a microchip into my body.

COVID-19 vaccines do not contain microchips. Vaccines are developed to fight against disease and are not administered to track your movement. Vaccines work by stimulating your immune system to produce antibodies, exactly like it would if you were exposed to the disease. After getting vaccinated, you develop immunity to that disease, without having to get the disease first.

Learn more about the ingredients in the COVID-19 vaccinations authorized for use in the United States.

Myth 8: A COVID-19 vaccine can make me sick with COVID-19.

Because none of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19, the vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19. Instead, the vaccines teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Sometimes this process can cause symptoms, such as fever. These symptoms are normal and are signs that the body is building protection against the virus.

Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work.

Myth 9: I only need one dose of the vaccine to be protected against COVID-19.

For the best protection, everyone 6 months and older is recommended to stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines.

Myth 10: Being near someone who received a COVID-19 vaccine will affect my period.

Your period cannot be affected by being near someone who received a COVID-19 vaccine.

You may be concerned about vaccines in general. Read Vaccines: Myth Versus Fact for more information.

Acknowledgments: The AAFP “Improving Adult Immunization Rates Among Racial and Ethnic Minority Populations” Project is supported by a Cooperative Agreement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (6 NU66IP000681-02-01) (The authors are solely responsible for the content and do not necessarily represent the official views of the CDC).


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