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20 Myths vs. Facts of the COVID Vaccine

Thursday, January 21, 2021 11:58 AM

There’s a lot of misinformation out there about the COVID-19 vaccine. With the help of NorthShore clinical experts, we bust 20 COVID-19 myths and provide you with the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  

For more information about the COVID vaccine, visit www.northshore.org/covid19.

Facts Vs. Myths of COVID Vaccine

1. MYTH: The COVID-19 vaccine was “rushed” and therefore, is not safe.
FACT: Vaccine development was not “rushed.” All COVID-19 vaccines currently being used have gone through rigorous studies to ensure they are safe and effective. The CDC and FDA continue to monitor vaccine safety in real-time—not because they are worried about their safety and effectiveness, but as standard practice and an added layer of protection.

2. MYTH: The COVID-19 vaccine can give you the COVID-19 virus.
FACT: No FDA-approved vaccine contains the live virus that causes COVID-19. As a result, you simply cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine.

3. MYTH: The COVID-19 vaccine secretly implants a chip in your body and changes your DNA.
FACT: No and No. The approved coronavirus vaccines use messenger RNA (mRNA) that stimulates your body’s immune response so that it will recognize and defend itself against COVID-19 if exposed. As for messing with your DNA, mRNA vaccines do not interact with your DNA.

4. MYTH: The COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility.
FACT: There is no evidence to suggest that getting vaccinated causes infertility.

5. MYTH: Pregnant women should not receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
FACT: The CDC’s Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP) has stated that pregnant women are eligible to receive the approved COVID-19 vaccines. Individuals who want additional guidance should discuss with their healthcare providers.

6. MYTH: If you’ve already had COVID-19, you don’t have to get vaccinated.
FACT: The CDC says that anyone who has had COVID-19 and recovered should be offered the vaccine. However, if you were treated for COVID-19 with specific medications (monoclonal antibodies) or convalescent plasma, the CDC recommends waiting at least 90 days before getting the vaccine.

7. MYTH: There are no side effects after receiving a COVID-19 vaccination.
FACT: After receiving the vaccine, you will likely experience some side effects. This is a normal sign that your body is building immune protection and the vaccine is working. The side effects may feel like flu symptoms and could affect your ability to do daily activities but they should disappear in 24-48 hours.

8. MYTH: Severe reactions to the COVID-19 vaccines are common.
FACT: Overall, the risk of a severe side effect is LOW, and continues to be monitored very closely. Prior to the COVID-19 vaccine, the risk of anaphylaxis (meaning severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reactions) to vaccines was reported at 1 in every 1 million doses. In the first set of information regarding the Pfizer vaccine, the rate of anaphylaxis (severe allergy) for the COVID-19 vaccine was approximately 11-12 individuals for every 1 million doses.

9. MYTH: If I have a side effect, I am allergic to the vaccine.
FACT: No. Allergic symptoms are not the same as side effect symptoms. Few patients truly have an allergy. Many patients will have side effects.

  • If you’ve had a reaction in the past to a food or medication that has required you to take epinephrine, you should plan to be observed for 30 minutes.
  • If you normally carry an EpiPen, you should continue to do so at the time of receiving the vaccine.

10. MYTH: I have seasonal allergies so I shouldn’t get the vaccine.
FACT: Seasonal allergies or allergies to other medications or food do not prevent you from getting the vaccine. The only folks who cannot receive the vaccine are individuals who are allergic to polyethylene glycol (the medication in Miralax and colonoscopy prep).

11. MYTH: You have to pay for your vaccine because insurance won’t cover it.
FACT: The vaccine is administered at no cost to you.

12. MYTH: The vaccine is mandatory so you must get vaccinated.
FACT: The vaccine is voluntary, not mandatory.

13. MYTH: One of the approved vaccines is better than the other.
FACT: Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, approved through FDA Emergency Use Authorization, are equally effective—with an efficacy rate of between 90% and 95%.

14. MYTH: The two approved vaccines behave differently.
FACT: The only difference between the two vaccines is their storage requirements. Otherwise, both vaccines work in the same way and both generate an excellent immune response with similar side effects.

15. MYTH: You only need one dose, not two.
FACT: Depending on the specific vaccine you get, a second dose 3-4 weeks after your first shot is needed to get the most protection the vaccine has to offer against COVID-19.

16. MYTH: Once you get vaccinated, you don’t need to follow safety precautions.
FACT: No. Until a large proportion of the country is vaccinated, we all MUST follow the safety practices. First it takes several weeks to reach peak immunity from the set of vaccines. We know that after vaccination, the person who receives the vaccine is protected from COVID-19. What we don’t know yet is if that means that if exposed, the person will not pass it on to someone else. We all need to continue to wear a mask, wash our hands and keep our distance.

17. MYTH: There is currently a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S. and no new supplies are on the horizon.
FACT: Not true. The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as large enough quantities are available. Once the vaccine is widely available, the plan is to have several thousand vaccination providers offering COVID-19 vaccines in a variety of settings including doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, public health organized mass vaccination campaigns, hospitals, and federally qualified health centers.

18. MYTH: The COVID-19 vaccine interacts negatively with other medications you’re taking.
FACT: It is possible that some medications that you are taking that block your immune response may decrease how well the vaccine works in you.

19. MYTH: If you’re not feeling well, there’s no reason to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
FACT: If you’re fighting off another virus or infection or have recently been on doses of Prednisone 20 mg (within the last few weeks), then it’s fine to wait to get the vaccine—about two weeks. However, when making this decision, please consider your risk for COVID-19 infection—for example, you may not want to delay receiving the vaccine if you work with the public or in a community setting.

20. MYTH: There’s no plan on how to schedule my vaccine appointment.
FACT: We are awaiting further guidance from public health officials regarding when NorthShore will receive its next vaccine shipment to support the next phase of vaccine distribution. For now, please register through your local health department and visit www.northshore.org/covid19 for updated information.