COVID-19 vaccine: Facts and Myths

Jan 13, 2021

Myth:  You can get COVID-19 from the vaccine.
Fact: Not true. You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine. Neither of the current available vaccines (Moderna and Pfizer) contain live or dead virus. In fact, these vaccines contain the genetic information on COVID-19 to help your body produce an immune response to the virus. 


Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine was developed quickly because science was skipped.
Fact: Not true. The COVID-19 vaccine was created in record time because tremendous resources were dedicated to developing this vaccine due to the serious health risks from the virus. Also, the vaccine’s technology, mRNA, was already developed over many years (nearly 17!). Researchers were able to plug the genetic sequence of the COVID-19 virus into this existing technology. All proper and standard vaccine safety protocols were followed in both the Pfizer and Moderna studies. 

Myth: An mRNA vaccine (such as COVID-19) can change your DNA.
Fact: Simply put, it cannot. mRNA or “messenger” RNA contains instructions for your cells to build a specific protein and do not contain or impact your DNA. With the COVID-19 vaccine, the mRNA tells your body’s cells how to make proteins that protect against the virus. 

Myth: Vaccines cause autism.
Fact: This is not true. It is a myth based on a discredited study.  

Myth: COVID vaccines can give you HIV. 
Fact: The COVID vaccines do not give you HIV.  There is no evidence to support that myth.

Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine causes infertility in women.
Fact: There are no reports on any impact on fertility from the COVID-19 vaccine based on the briefings to the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee. 


Myth: When you get a COVID-19 vaccine, a microchip is injected into your body.
Fact: This is false and is not possible.

Myth: If you have had COVID-19, you don’t need the vaccine. 
Fact: Not true. COVID-19 poses a severe health risk and it is possible to be infected repeatedly with the virus. Therefore, most people who have had COVID-19 are advised to still receive the vaccine. In fact, most who have had COVID can receive the COVID vaccination as soon as acute symptoms have resolved and quarantine has ended. The only exception is patients who received immunotherapy (convalescent plasma/immunotherapy) as part of their COVID treatment; those patients should wait 90 days from the end of the treatment period.

Myth: I can stop following the CDC guidance once I get vaccinated.
Fact: Even if you get the vaccine, you should continue to wear a mask around others, practice social distancing and wash your hands.

Myth: They are giving certain vaccines to certain groups of people.
Fact: Both vaccines have a very high effective rate and provide the same protections against getting COVID-19.

Myth: There are severe side effects from the COVID-19 vaccines.
Fact: Most people will have short-term mild or moderate reactions to the vaccine that go away without complications.

Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine was developed using fetal tissue.
Fact: mRNA COVID vaccines were not produced using fetal cell cultures.

Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine uses a live virus.
Fact: The process of mRNA vaccines do not use live virus. It works by sending message to your cells to make a protein to cause an immune response.

To learn more about the facts of COVID-19 and the COVID-19 vaccine, read this article written by one of our Permanente physicians, Dr. Gahunia.

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