COVID-19 Vaccine: Facts vs Myths
With millions of COVID-19 vaccines distributed across the nation, there is now the potential to end the pandemic. However, there has been a lot of speculation and false information shared since the FDA first approved Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) in December 2020.
We have been listening to your questions and the online speculation about the vaccines and want to separate the facts from the myths surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine.
You can learn more about COVID-19, ways to keep you and your family safe during the pandemic, COVID-19 health tips, COVID-19 vaccine information, frequently asked questions and more on our Coronavirus page.
Loyola Medicine strongly encourages those eligible to get vaccinated in their respective communities across the Chicago area, Illinois and the entire United States.
Vaccine Side Effect Facts/Myths
Myth: COVID-19 vaccines will give you COVID-19 or can shed the virus
FACT: The COVID-19 vaccines developed and being developed in the US do not use the live virus and cannot cause COVID-19. The goal of any vaccine is to teach our immune system how to recognize and fight a virus.
However, symptoms such as fever can occur after you receive a vaccine. These symptoms are normal and actually a sign that your body is building immunity. The CDC has more information about how vaccines work for those interested.
Myth: COVID-19 vaccines will cause you to test positive on a COVID-19 viral test
FACT: You will not test positive on a viral test, which are used to check if you have a current COVID-19 infection, after receiving the vaccine. If you take a COVID-19 antibody test, some antibody tests may show you have COVID-19 antibodies and may indicate you previously had a COVID-19 infection, but this is due to your body developing an immune response from the vaccine.
Myth: COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility in women
FACT: No significant safety concerns, including infertility, have been observed during the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine trials. Additionally, a vaccine cannot be approved without following set safety protocols. Trial participants will be monitored for long-term side effects for at least two years.
Vaccine Safety Facts/Myths
Myth: Safety protocols were bypassed to develop the vaccine quickly
FACT: Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government, including Operation Warp Speed (OWS), has been working to make a COVID-19 vaccine available as quickly as possible. OWS provides federal resources and funding to speed development while maintaining strict standards for safety and effectiveness.
The timeframe to develop the COVID-19 vaccines were shortened significantly by vaccine makers beginning mass production before receiving an Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA. The clinical studies of the vaccines were not bypassed or shortened.
Other Vaccine Facts/Myths
Fact: People who have gotten sick with COVID-19 may still benefit from getting vaccinated.
Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and that re-infection is possible, some who got infected with COVID-19 may be advised to get vaccinated. At this time, it is unknown how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19.
Myth: The government is implanting a tracking chip in the vaccine to track those vaccinated
FACT: COVID-19 vaccines will not contain any kind of microchip or tracking device from the government. The syringes the vaccines are in will likely have an RFID microchip from a medical solutions company named ApiJect Systems America.
This RFID chip will allow public health agencies to collect information about when and where the vaccine was administered, but nothing except the vaccine will be injected into your body.
Myth: mRNA-based vaccines alter your DNA
FACT: Messenger ribonucleic acid, or mRNA, are instructions for your body to make a certain type or piece of protein that helps trigger a response from your immune system to fight off a virus. COVID-19 vaccines that use mRNA work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop protection to coronavirus.
mRNA is not able to alter or modify a person’s genetic makeup (DNA). The mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enters the nucleus of our cells, which is where our DNA is stored. The CDC has more information on the use of mRNA in COVID-19 vaccines.
Myth: mRNA technology is too new and unproven
FACT: While mRNA technology is new, it is not unknown nor unproven. According to the National Institutes of Health, research on mRNA technology began in the 1990s and have other important advantages. mRNA vaccines do not carry a live virus and do not carry a risk of causing disease in the vaccinated person.