Viral content has spread on social media, promoting falsehoods and undermining public health messages about COVID-19 and vaccines. Be wary of any information you encounter on these platforms unless it is posted by or links back to credible sources. With so much misinformation out there, you may have questions about the COVID-19 vaccines.
See the following infographic for a quick overview of the facts, then read below for more information.
Learn the Facts about the Coronavirus Vaccines
Here are the basic facts about the COVID-19 vaccines.
Fact: COVID vaccines are safe and were carefully reviewed
All vaccines go through similar testing and safety measures.
Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines went through clinical trials (research studies with human volunteers) and each received Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA. This authorization allows proven therapies to be used in a public health emergency after two months of Phase 3 clinical trial data. Learn more about Emergency Use Authorization.
Fact: You can’t get infected from the COVID vaccine
It is not possible to get COVID-19 from vaccines. None of the authorized vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) use a gene from the virus – not the “live” virus itself. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick from COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccines use messenger RNA (messenger ribonucleic acid) to teach our cells how to make a protein instead of relying on the weakened virus.
Vaccines can cause symptoms (like fever and soreness), which is a normal sign that the vaccine is working.
Fact: Precautions are still necessary after you get vaccinated
It is important to know that it takes a few weeks for your body to build immunity after vaccination. This means it is possible for you to be infected with the virus just before or just after – you will need to follow the same precautions (social distancing, masking, handwashing, etc.) even though you have received the vaccine.
According to the CDC, we should not assume we are completely immune after being vaccinated. Both authorized vaccines provide about 95% protection. However, it does not prevent transmission to others if you are already carrying COVID-19. You may be spreading the virus without knowing it if you do not have symptoms. Therefore, it is still important for us to continue taking action to protect ourselves and others.
To understand why multiple layers of protection are still necessary, learn about what scientists call The Swiss Cheese Model of Pandemic Defense (New York Times).
Fact: If you’ve had COVID, experts still recommend getting the vaccine
Because COVID-19 poses serious health risks and it is possible to be infected more than once, experts recommend vaccination even if you have already been infected. Experts do not know how long you are protected after an infection. Natural immunity varies (the protection you get from having an infection) from person to person, and might not last very long.
Fact: Experts recommend talking to your healthcare provider if you're pregnant
Experts don’t yet have data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines for pregnant women. We do know that mRNA vaccines (like Pfizer and Moderna) do not include the live virus. We also know that pregnant women are at an increased risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19, including increased likelihood of being admitted to intensive care and needing mechanical ventilation. If you are pregnant and part of a group recommended to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, we recommend that you talk with your healthcare provider to help you make an informed decision. See our decision-making guide for pregnant people.
Fact: The vaccines do not contain microchips or tracking devices
No, neither the vaccine or the syringe include microchips that will be injected into patients or used to track the population. Learn more about why these claims have been debunked.
Fact: There is no evidence that the vaccine can make you infertile
No, the vaccine will not make you infertile. This myth evolved due to the naming similarity of the COVID 19 spike protein and a different protein involved in attaching the placenta to the uterine wall.
Fact: COVID vaccines have mild, common side effects
Most people experience only mild side effects from the COVID-19 vaccines The most common side effects are pain and swelling on the arm where you got the shot, fever, chills, tiredness, and headache.
What’s the bottom line?
In order to distinguish COVID-19 facts from myths, be sure to rely on trusted sources of information. A healthy skepticism about unusual or extreme claims you encounter will help you to avoid misinformation and make more informed choices.
For more information on COVID-19 vaccines, visit our COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ. See more on how to be a more informed healthcare consumer.
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