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September 2021

COVID-19 Vaccines: Dispelling the Myths

COVID-19 vaccines are still relatively new. It’s understandable to have questions about them. There is a lot of information out there—and at least as much misinformation. Knowing what to believe can be a challenge.

Healthcare provider with a mask and face shielf gives vaccine to masked patient

The most reliable info is based on well-designed, peer-reviewed research. Peer review means that, once a study is done, outside experts take a close look at the methods and results. These extra sets of eyes help spot any weaknesses and bring a new perspective to the findings. The process helps ensure that only high-quality studies are published in medical journals and used to shape public health policies.

You can find vaccine updates based on solid science at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. Your healthcare provider is the best source of individualized advice about what these research findings mean for you.

Sorting fact from fiction

Here are science-based answers to some common questions about COVID-19 vaccines.

Will the vaccines give me COVID-19?

Definitely not. COVID-19 vaccines do not contain the live virus that causes the illness. So it’s impossible for them to make you sick with COVID-19.

You might feel a bit under the weather or run a fever after getting your shot. But these symptoms are just a sign that the vaccine is working and your body is building protection. These vaccine-related symptoms should pass within a few days.

Can the vaccines change my DNA?

No. DNA is found in the nucleus of cells. The material in COVID-19 vaccines never enters the nucleus. It does not interact with your DNA in any way.

Isn’t it better to build up my natural defenses?

Vaccines actually do work along with your body’s own immune system to build protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. Becoming infected with the virus may also offer some protection. But getting the vaccine is a far safer alternative.

COVID-19 can cause serious—sometimes life-threatening—complications. If you get sick with COVID-19, you could also spread the virus to those around you.

But how can I feel confident that the vaccines are really safe?

Before being authorized for use, the COVID-19 vaccines were tested in tens of thousands of volunteers. Since then, millions of Americans have received the vaccines. The most intense vaccine monitoring in U.S. history has confirmed their safety.

Identifying your reasons

People have different reasons for getting their COVID-19 shots. They may want to:

  • Feel less anxious about the risks posed by COVID-19

  • Protect family, friends, and neighbors

  • Enjoy activities that were put on hold during the pandemic

What’s your reason? If you still need a COVID-19 vaccine, think about how it could help you. Seek information from trustworthy sources, including your provider. Then take the next step and make a vaccine appointment.

Online Medical Reviewer: Brian McDonough, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Ray Turley, MSN, BSN
Date Last Reviewed: 5/1/2021
© 2000-2022 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.