One of the most important things you can do for your health in 2021 will be to get the COVID-19 vaccine when it’s available to you—and that means knowing what’s fact and what’s fiction.  

There’s a lot of misinformation swirling out there when it comes to vaccination. Here we will resolve many of the most common misconceptions.

The vaccine will give me COVID-19. 

False. The vaccines available in the US today are not made from live virus and will not give you COVID-19. They use mRNA to help your body fight the COVID 19 virus.    

The COVID-19 vaccine will change my DNA. 

Not true. The leading vaccines uses messenger RNA (mRNA), which never affects or interacts with your DNA in any way. mRNA vaccines instruct cells in the body how to make a protein that triggers an immune response. Human cells break down mRNA soon after they have finished using the instructions.

I already had COVID-19, so I don’t need the vaccine. 

Not necessarily true. We’re still learning about the “natural immunity” that builds up after a COVID-19 case, but reinfection is possible. 

Is that because the COVID-19 vaccine itself will cause me to test positive for COVID-19? 

No. If you’ve been vaccinated and build up immunity, you may test positive on antibody tests that look for previous infection—but you will not test positive for a current active infection. 

The COVID-19 vaccine is not safe as it was developed so quickly.

False. The mRNA technology used for the COVID vaccine was existing technology that was improved. In addition to the safety review by the FDA, the Advisory Committee on Immunization has convened a panel of vaccine safety experts to evaluate the safety data from the clinical trial, as well as set up a system to monitor safety data as the population receives this vaccine.

I don’t need to wear a mask after I receive the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Not true. It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccinations and booster doses, which means it’s possible you could catch COVID-19 and infect others during this time.  For now, stick with social distancing, masks, and other precautions. 

Also, the Pfizer and Moderna trials tracked only how many vaccinated people became sick with COVID-19. That leaves open the possibility that some vaccinated people get infected without developing symptoms—and could then silently transmit the virus, especially if they come in close contact with others or stop wearing masks.

If vaccinated people are silently spreading the virus, they may keep it circulating in their communities, putting unvaccinated people at risk. Therefore, it is very important to continue to wear a mask after vaccination.

As we continue to deal with COVID-19 and bring it under control, pay close attention to medical experts rather than rumors!