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Top 10 COVID Vaccine Myths

MYTH: The COVID-19 vaccines can cause more dangerous variants of the virus.

FACT: No. COVID-19 vaccines do not create or cause variants of the virus that causes COVID-19. New variants of a virus happen because the virus that causes COVID-19 constantly changes through a natural ongoing process of mutation (change). Even before the COVID-19 vaccines, there were several variants of the virus. Looking ahead, variants are expected to continue to emerge as the virus continues to change. COVID-19 vaccines can help prevent new variants from emerging. As it spreads, the virus has more opportunities to change. High vaccination coverage in a population reduces the spread of the virus and helps prevent new variants from emerging. CDC recommends that everyone 5 years and older get vaccinated as soon as possible.

MYTH: All events reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) are caused by vaccination. FACT: No. VAERS data alone cannot determine if the reported adverse event was caused by a COVID-19 vaccination. Anyone can report events to VAERS, even if it is not clear whether a vaccine caused the problem. Some VAERS reports may contain information that is incomplete, inaccurate, coincidental, or unverifiable. These adverse events are studied by vaccine safety experts who look for unusually high numbers of health problems, or a pattern of problems, after people receive a particular vaccine. Recently, the number of deaths reported to VAERS following COVID-19 vaccination has been misinterpreted and misreported as if this number means deaths that were proven to be caused by vaccination. Reports of adverse events to VAERS following vaccination, including deaths, do not necessarily mean that a vaccine caused a health problem.

MYTH: The mRNA vaccines aren’t considered to be traditional vaccines.

FACT: Yes. mRNA vaccines, such as Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, work differently than other types of vaccines, but they still trigger an immune response inside your body. This type of vaccine is new, but research and development on it has been under way for decades.

The mRNA vaccines do not contain any live virus. Instead, they work by teaching our cells to make a harmless piece of a “spike protein,” which is found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19. After making the protein piece, cells display it on their surface. Our immune system then recognizes that it does not belong there and responds to get rid of it. When an immune response begins, antibodies are produced, creating the same response that happens in a natural infection.

In contrast to mRNA vaccines, many other vaccines use a piece of, or weakened version of, the germ that the vaccine protects against. This is how the measles and flu vaccines work. When a weakened or small part of the virus is introduced to your body, you make antibodies to help protect against future infection.

MYTH: COVID-19 vaccines contain microchips.

FACT: No. 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: COVID-19 vaccines cause you to be magnetic.

FACT: No. Receiving a COVID-19 vaccine will not make you magnetic, including at the site of vaccination which is usually your arm. COVID-19 vaccines do not contain ingredients that can produce an electromagnetic field at the site of your injection. All COVID-19 vaccines are free from metals.

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

MYTH: COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States can shed or release any of their components.

FACT: No. Vaccine shedding is the term used to describe the release or discharge of any of the vaccine components in or outside of the body. Vaccine shedding can only occur when a vaccine contains a weakened version of the virus. None of the vaccines authorized for use in the U.S. contain a live virus. mRNA and viral vector vaccines are the two types of currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines available.

MYTH: COVID-19 vaccine will alter my DNA.

FACT: No. COVID-19 vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way. Both mRNA and viral vector COVID-19 vaccines deliver instructions (genetic material) to our cells to start building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. However, the material never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept.

MYTH: COVID-19 vaccines can make me sick with COVID-19.

FACT: No. None of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines 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. COVID-19 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 similar to those experienced with other routine vaccines and are normal signs that the body is building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19.

MYTH: You don’t need a vaccine if you’ve had COVID.

FACT: Unknown. We don’t know how long immunity lasts once you recover from the virus, but there is a possibility of catching the virus a second time, so the vaccine is still important. If you’ve had COVID, you may receive the vaccine after your symptoms have gone away and you have finished your isolation period. If you received certain medicines when you had COVID, you may need to wait to be vaccinated. Talk to your provider about what’s right for you.

MYTH: I can’t get the vaccine if I want to have a baby.

FACT: No. There is no evidence the vaccine does anything to a baby during pregnancy, nor that it does anything to the mother’s body to prevent pregnancy in the future. For men, there is no evidence to suggest it affects the sperm or male reproductive organs either, meaning it won’t prevent someone from becoming a father. Your provider can help answer any specific questions.

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