In the fight against COVID-19, it is important to have reliable information from the doctors and researchers on the frontlines. Having the facts makes it easier to make the right choices in how we protect the health and well-being of ourselves and each other. Below are some of today’s most popular anti-vaccine myths and the facts they ignore.
Myth: COVID-19 vaccines will give you COVID-19.
Fact: You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine. The vaccine contains messenger RNA that encodes for just a piece of the virus (the spike protein) not the entire virus. By injecting the body with the messenger RNA, the vaccine prompts the body to make very specific antibodies which counteract that protein and neutralize it should you ever come in contact with it.
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. These symptoms were more common after the second dose of the vaccine, and the vast majority of reported side effects were mild. It is recommended that those with a history of serious allergic reactions to vaccines, however, consult with their doctor before being vaccinated.
Side effects are a normal sign that your body is doing what it is supposed to in order to boost immunity. Generally, any side effects go away on their own in 24 to 36 hours. In the millions of doses administered thus far, more serious side effects have been very rare.
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.
Myth: It’s not safe for me to get a COVID-19 vaccine if I would like to have a baby one day.
Fact: People who are trying to become pregnant now or who plan to try in the future may receive the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them. Based on current knowledge, the COVID-19 vaccines are unlikely to pose a risk to a person trying to become pregnant in the short or long term. Those who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant should discuss any concerns with an OB/GYN prior to being vaccinated.
Myth: COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility or miscarriage.
Fact: There is no documented evidence linking COVID-19 vaccines to infertility or miscarriage. The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does suggest that women who are pregnant or considering pregnancy have a discussion with their healthcare provider to help make an informed decision and have their questions answered before taking the vaccine.
Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine is not safe because it was rapidly developed and tested.
Fact: While vaccines traditionally are years in the making, there have been several factors that have contributed to the shorter time frame with this virus, including the fact that in early 2020, scientists received the genetic makeup of COVID-19, which made vaccine development easier. This circumstance, coupled with the fact that mRNA vaccines have been in development over the past decade in response to other viral diseases, have also helped speed the process along, as did the amount of funding made available due to the global pandemic to push COVID-19 vaccine development and manufacturing forward while observing all safety protocols and performing adequate testing.
Myth: I already had COVID-19 and recovered, so I don't need to get a COVID-19 vaccine when it's available.
Fact: Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that reinfection with COVID-19 is possible, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19 infection. If you were treated for COVID-19 symptoms with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. People should not get vaccinated while in quarantine or while exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
Myth: I won't need to wear a mask after I get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Fact: There are several reasons to continue wearing a mask after being vaccinated, beginning with the fact that protection doesn’t begin immediately after receiving shots and that it could take up to a couple weeks after an injection for the body to react completely and produce the maximum benefit. Taken further, it will still be a considerable time before everyone who wants a COVID-19 vaccination can get one, meaning the type of herd immunity needed to eventually make mask wearing a thing of the past is a considerable way off. Finally, while the vaccine may prevent you from getting sick or minimize the symptoms if you do get sick, it is unknown at this time if you can still carry and transmit the virus to others even after being vaccinated. Until more is understood about how well the vaccine works, continuing with precautions such as mask-wearing and physical distancing will be important.
Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine was developed as a way to control the general population through such things as microchip tracking.
Fact: There is no vaccine "microchip" and the vaccine will not track people or gather personal information into a database. This myth started after comments about a digital certificate of vaccine records was taken out of context and circulated on social media. The technology that was referred to is not a microchip, has not been implemented in any manner and is not tied to the development, testing or distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine will alter my DNA.
Fact: The first COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use are messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines. According to the CDC, mRNA vaccines work by instructing cells in the body how to make a protein that triggers an immune response. Injecting mRNA into your body will not interact or do anything to the DNA of your cells. Human cells break down and get rid of the mRNA soon after they have finished using the instructions.
The information on this page was compiled from the most recent available data from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Ohio Department of Health and other trusted health sources.