You may see and hear conflicting information about the COVID-19 vaccines in the news, on social media or from friends or family members. Sometimes, it can be difficult to tell what’s fact from fiction these days.
Getting vaccinated is a personal decision. As a health system committed to the well being of our communities, we’re providing fact-based information from public health and medical experts to help you make the best choice for you and your loved ones.
Here are some common myths out there and the facts about COVID-19 vaccines.
Myth 1: The COVID-19 vaccines were rushed
Fact: Vaccines are tightly regulated in the U.S. and go through a rigorous evaluation process to ensure safety and effectiveness. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a strict protocol that outlines very specific safety, effectiveness and study requirements for drug and vaccine manufacturers to follow. These requirements must be met in order to pursue approval, even on a limited, emergency use basis.
When there is an emergency, such as a global pandemic, the FDA can issue an emergency use authorization (EUA) to provide more timely access to critical medical interventions when there are no other available alternatives.
Available COVID-19 vaccines have been determined safe and highly effective in preventing COVID-19 by the FDA. To further reassure the public, additional precautions were taken to validate the vaccines’ safety and efficacy. For example, Washington, Oregon, California and Nevada formed the “Western States Pact,” an independent group of medical experts assembled to confirm vaccine safety and efficacy. Both COVID-19 vaccines available today received the green light from this group (Dec. 12 and Dec. 20 findings), following FDA emergency use authorization.
Myth 2: Taking the COVID-19 vaccine will give me COVID-19
Fact: The COVID-19 vaccine will not give you the virus. The COVID-19 vaccine uses messenger RNA to teach your immune system how to recognize and fight off the virus, should you come into contact with it. The vaccine does not include live virus and therefore cannot cause an infection.
The vaccines currently available in the U.S. require two doses – the first dose starts building protection and the second (separated by a 3-4 weeks, depending on the manufacturer) strengthens the vaccine’s protection.
According to the CDC, the vaccination process may cause some symptoms, such as a pain at the injection site, fatigue or a fever. These symptoms are generally mild and temporary, and an indication that the immune system is doing its job.
Myth 3: I don’t need to wear a mask or socially distance after receiving the vaccine
Fact: You still need to wear a mask and take other precautions after getting the COVID-19 vaccine — at least for a while. Individual city and state mandates will likely be in effect until our communities become widely vaccinated.
Vaccines are an important line of defense against this highly contagious virus. We know that on average, one person with COVID-19 can infect another 2.5 people. A COVID-19 vaccine, in combination with other measures such as wearing a mask, frequent hand washing and social distancing, is the best way to protect yourself and those around you.
Myth 4: The vaccine contains a microchip
Fact: There is no microchip or tracking device in the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine is intended to prevent or lessen the impact of COVID-19 should you come into contact with the virus – not to track you.
When you get vaccinated for COVID-19, your provider will likely collect some information, such as the date, time and location of vaccination. This type of information helps to ensure you get a second dose on time and so that researchers can continue to study the vaccine.
Myth 5: The COVID-19 vaccine causes infertility in women and shouldn’t be given to pregnant women
Fact: There is no scientific evidence to suggest that the COVID-19 vaccine affects or harms fertility in women. Women who are pregnant can decide to get the vaccine when they become eligible to receive it. It’s recommended that pregnant women discuss their options with a health care provider, so that they can make decisions that are right for them.
Stay up to date on the CDC's recommendations for masking and how to keep yourself as protected as possible from current variants.
Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine at:
- FDA COVID-19 vaccine information
- CDC COVID-19 vaccine information
- Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine FAQ
- Moderna COVID-19 vaccine FAQ
About the AuthorMore Content by Providence Health Team