COVID-19 Vaccine Myths vs. Facts
Updated: Friday, April 16
Myth: COVID-19 vaccines will give you COVID-19.
Fact: None of the available COVID-19 vaccines or COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the U.S. contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. You cannot become sick with COVID-19 from getting a COVID-19 vaccine. (Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Myths and Facts about COVID-19 Vaccines).
Myth: If you already had COVID-19, you do not need the vaccine.
Fact: Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, people are advised to get a COVID-19 vaccine even if they have been sick with COVID-19 before. At this time, experts do not know how long someone is protected from COVID-19 after being sick. The immunity 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. (Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Frequently Asked Questions About Vaccination).
Myth: The vaccine was developed really fast so they "cut corners" to get it done and it may not be safe.
Fact: There were no "corners cut" in regard to scientific process and safety. As of April 2021, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration has granted Emergency Use Authorizations for three COVID-19 vaccines which have been shown to be safe and effective after review of data from the manufacturers and findings from large, multi-phased clinical trials. The data demonstrates that the known and potential benefits of the vaccine outweigh the known and potential harms of becoming infected with COVID-19. (Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Ensuring the Safety of Vaccines).
Myth: The side effects of the vaccine are really bad.
Fact: The most common side effects from this vaccine have included fatigue, muscle pains, joint pains, headaches, pain and redness at the injection site. With the mRNA vaccines, these symptoms were more common after the second dose of the vaccine and the majority of side effects were mild. (Source: U.S. Food & Drug Administration: Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine EUA Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers). (Source: U.S. Food & Drug Administration: Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine EUA Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers). (Source: U.S. Food & Drug Administration: Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine EUA Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers).
Myth: Receiving an mRNA vaccine will alter your DNA.
Fact: mRNA stands for messenger ribonucleic acid and can most easily be described as instructions for how to make a protein or even just a piece of a protein. mRNA is not able to alter or modify a person’s genetic makeup or DNA. 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 does not affect or interact with our DNA in any way. Instead, COVID-19 vaccines that use mRNA work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop protection or immunity to disease. (Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Understanding and Explaining mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines).
Myth: The flu vaccine can help protect against COVID-19.
Fact: Getting a flu shot will not protect you against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. These are two different vaccinations. While flu vaccines will not prevent COVID-19, they will reduce the burden of flu illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths on the health care system and conserve medical resources for the care of people with COVID-19. (Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Influenza Vaccine Benefits).
Myth: Vaccines contain toxic ingredients.
Fact: Today’s vaccines use only the ingredients they need to be as safe and effective as possible. The gelatin and egg proteins in some flu vaccines can cause allergic reactions in very rare cases. Those affected typically have a history of severe allergies to gelatin or eggs. If you have severe allergies to ingredients in vaccines or other injectable medications, tell the nurse before your COVID-19 vaccine or talk to your doctor. (Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: What’s in Vaccines?)
Myth: Natural immunity is healthier and more effective than vaccine immunity.
Fact: Vaccines allow you to build immunity without the damaging effects that vaccine-preventable diseases can have. These diseases can cause serious health problems and even be life-threatening. Even with the advances in health care, the diseases vaccines prevent can still be very serious. Vaccination is the best way to prevent them. (Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Understanding How Vaccines Work). (Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Understanding How COVID-19 Vaccines Work).
Myth: Vaccines can cause autism.
Fact: Vaccines do not cause autism. This incorrect claim stems from a study that has been discredited. Unfortunately, this flawed study has created much misinformation. Multiple studies have shown that there is no link between receiving vaccines and developing autism. (Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Vaccines and Autism).
Myth: Vaccines have microchips and are used to microchip people.
Fact: This is entirely false. This is a myth that stemmed from misinformation on the internet. (Source: Reuters: Fact Check: RFID microchips will not be injected with the COVID-19 vaccine, altered video features Bill and Melinda Gates and Jack Ma).