The internet is vast. And it's full of misinformation.
We'd like to take this opportunity to set the record straight on several COVID vaccine myths making their rounds online.
1. The COVID vaccine will not give you COVID.
The COVID-19 vaccine is a messenger RNA, or mRNA, vaccine, which means that, unlike other vaccines, it does not involve injecting a weakened version of a virus into your body to cause an immune response. Instead, the mRNA vaccine instructs your body to create protein that can kick your immune system into gear so that it can fight the virus in question. In the case of COVID-19, the vaccine teaches your body to make a spike protein.
2. The vaccine will not harm your fertility.
Everything about the science and prior vaccine developments show zero harm to reproductive organs. The COVID-19 vaccine, like other vaccines, works by training our bodies to develop antibodies to fight against the virus that causes COVID-19, to prevent future illness. There is currently no evidence that antibodies formed from COVID-19 vaccination cause any problems with pregnancy, including the development of the placenta. In addition, there is no evidence suggesting that fertility problems are a side effect of ANY vaccine. 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.
3. The vaccine will not make you sick.
There is no live virus protein in the vaccine. Your arm may feel sore and you might feel less than 100% for the next day, but that means the vaccine is starting to work, not that you are getting COVID. There are several different types of vaccines in development. All of them 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 normal and are a sign that the body is building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work.
4. The vaccine will not alter your DNA.
COVID-19 mRNA vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way. mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response. The mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept. This means the mRNA cannot affect or interact with our DNA in any way. Instead, COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to disease.
5. Herd immunity does not mean the epidemic is over.
Yes, herd immunity will help signal the ending of the coronavirus epidemic. Reaching herd immunity means enough people in a community are protected from the virus because they've already had it and survived or they've been vaccinated. This makes it harder to pass the virus from person to person, and it protects those who can't be vaccinated, like newborns or people who are allergic to the vaccine.
However, we do not know the exact percentage of people that need to get vaccinated to reach herd immunity to COVID -19. Additionally, COVID-19 will not simply vanish overnight once herd immunity is reached, but it will begin to fade because there will be fewer vulnerable people to infect.
Getting back to life
At the end of the day, getting vaccinated is how our bodies learn how to protect against future infection. The immune response and making antibodies is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies. The more people who get vaccinated, the closer we come to preventing the virus from effecting ourselves, our friends and our family.