There is a lot of misinformation out there about COVID-19 and the vaccines. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell what’s true and what isn’t. Sometimes recommendations change slightly as scientists and doctors continue to learn more about COVID-19.
Are you more afraid of the vaccine than you are of COVID-19? Ask yourself why. Over 400 Americans are still dying each day of COVID-19. Chances are you know someone who has died from COVID-19. Severe side effects from the vaccines are rare, and that is why it makes the news when even one person gets sick from the vaccine.
No. None of the COVID-19 vaccines contain live virus.
No, there is no virus used in any of the vaccines.
Around 99% of recent hospitalizations and deaths have been among the unvaccinated. People who got the vaccine and then later get sick with COVID-19 have less serious symptoms.
Think of the vaccine like seat belts – we know people are much safer when wearing them than when they’re not wearing them.
Some people can have mild to moderate side effects after being vaccinated. Common reactions may include chills, tiredness and aching muscles.
This is normal and should go away in a few days. You are not contagious and this shows you that the vaccine is working with your body to protect you against COVID-19. However, if you get COVID-19, you may not be able to work for weeks or longer. Some people can have mild to moderate side effects after being vaccinated.
No. This is the vaccine teaching your body's immune system to recognize and fight the infection they have been designed to protect against. This is not the disease itself, but the body's response to the vaccine.
Bottom line: Getting COVID-19 will make you much sicker than any reaction to the vaccine. COVID-19 can last weeks or even longer.
No, mRNA is not the same as DNA. The vaccines do not interact with or change your DNA.
The science that created two of the COVID-19 vaccines uses messenger RNA – “mRNA.” mRNA is something your body uses to send messages in your cells in order to protect you. mRNA vaccines work like an instruction manual for your body’s immune system.
mRNA vaccines have been studied and used for decades (over 30 years!) before COVID-19 emerged. This science was studied and used in vaccines against other viruses, such as the Flu, Rabies and Zika. It’s also used in life-saving cancer treatment. Because of this, we know how mRNA works in vaccines and that the vaccines are safe.
The vaccines were developed quickly because so many researchers, scientists, manufacturers and distributors around the world worked together to share information.
Safety steps were not cut. mRNA vaccines, like Pfizer and Moderna, used technology that already existed.
Hundreds of vaccine candidates were being developed and tested simultaneously around the world. There was a huge amount of financial support to develop, test, manufacture and distribute the vaccines. Multiple trials were done all at the same time, instead of one after another.
Going back at least as far as the polio vaccine, which was widely released to the public in the 1960s, we have never seen a vaccine with long-term side effects, meaning side effects that occur several months or years after injection.
And, in every vaccine available, side effects —including very rare serious side effects — develop within six to eight weeks of vaccination, not later.
COVID-19 vaccines have been studied in humans for more than 2 years now, and more than 223 million people have been fully vaccinated in the United States alone. The vaccines have been shown to be extremely safe. The safety monitoring systems have been able to detect very rare adverse effects — all of which occurred within days or weeks following vaccination.
This is what gives scientists and public health officials confidence in COVID-19 vaccines’ long-term safety — if there were significant side effects, they very likely would have been discovered by now.
Findings from U.S. vaccine safety monitoring systems are early but reassuring. These data, which included people who received mRNA vaccines (i.e., Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), did not identify any safety concerns for pregnant women who were vaccinated or for their babies.
Pregnant people reported similar types and frequencies of side effects as non-pregnant women, including serious side effects. Pregnancy outcomes in vaccinated people were similar to those in studies of pregnant women conducted before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Another report looked at pregnant women enrolled in the "v-safe pregnancy registry" who were vaccinated before 20 weeks of pregnancy. Scientists did not find an increased risk for miscarriage among women who received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy.
There is currently no evidence showing that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems (problems trying to get pregnant) in women or men.
However, there is data showing that having COVID-19 can cause fertility issues in some people.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) has issued emergency-use approval of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines against COVID-19 for kids ages 6 months and above. The FDA has deemed the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccines “safe and effective for the prevention of COVID-19 in children 6 months and older."
In safety studies that included approximately 3,460 children ages 6 months to 5 years who received the vaccine, no serious side effects have been detected.
Call your child’s doctor today.
Lists of all the ingredients are widely available, including on each vaccine's website.
Yes, you need to get vaccinated even if you already had COVID-19 because of the new variants.
The vaccines are not 100% effective. Some vaccinated people still get infected, but because of the vaccine their symptoms are so slight, they spread the disease to their families and others without knowing it.
Until more people are vaccinated, masking, hand-washing and social distancing are still important.
Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, and Novavax require two shots several weeks apart. Johnson & Johnson (J&J) requires one shot.
Currently, only Moderna and Pfizer are approved for use in children ages 6 months and above. Novavax is approved for children ages 12 years and above. J&J is approved for adults ages 18 years and above.
No. The COVID-19 vaccines themselves do not contain fetal cells or DNA, though some vaccines have been developed or tested with scientifically vetted cell lines.
Major religious leaders have also issued statements supporting vaccination.
Everyone ages 18 and older, as well as individuals who are immunocompromimsed, should get a COVID-19 booster shot.
Although COVID-19 vaccines remain very effective at preventing serious illness, there is evidence that their protection decreases over time. A booster shot helps make sure you stay protected against COVID-19 and new variants as the virus evolves.
You can choose any of the 3 available vaccines for your booster (this is sometimes called “mix and match vaccines”). Booster appointments are available at most local pharmacies. If you have questions, contact your primary care provider.
What's the easiest way to get vaccinated?
Pharmacies! Most don’t require appointments; you can just walk in and ask for it. And there are many pharmacies near you.
Millions of Americans have been safely vaccinated. But to slow the spread of COVID-19 many more still need to get the vaccine.