Millions of people in the United States have received COVID-19 vaccines, and these vaccines have undergone the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. But for those who are still hesitant to get their vaccinations, here are some myths that you should know about!
Common COVID-19 Vaccination Myths
I already had COVID-19, so I don’t need to get the vaccine.
It’s not clear how long a natural infection with COVID-19 provides immunity from the disease.
There are reports of individuals being reinfected with the virus, even after being very ill with COVID-19. The CDC recommends that a recovering COVID-19 patient get the COVID-19 vaccine 90 days after being infected.
I have had my first vaccine dose, so I can’t contract COVID-19.
It’s crucial to receive both doses of the vaccine if you’re getting a vaccine that is administered in two parts, Wen said. The vaccines were studied under the assumption people would take two doses, she said, so the effectiveness applies as long as people take both doses.
The first dose gives some protection, but health experts don’t know how long that protection lasts, she added.
I can just wait and get my routine vaccinations until the pandemic is over.
You should not postpone your vaccinations. Routine vaccinations are an important part of maintaining your health because they prevent other illnesses. Talk with your family physician about what vaccinations you still need and how to safely catch up. They may have alternate times or locations to vaccinate healthy patients, decreasing exposure to those who might be sick with COVID-19.
I will contract COVID-19 after I get the vaccine.
No, that is not how vaccinations work. None of the authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines or COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19.
The vaccine will alter my DNA.
This isn’t possible. mRNA vaccines work in the cell’s cytoplasm and never enter the cell nucleus, where the DNA, your genetic material, lives. It’s broken down quickly once it enters the cell and delivers the needed vaccine “message” to the cell’s machinery. The virus spike protein is also rapidly broken down once there is no longer any mRNA. The adenovirus platform uses DNA encoding the spike protein which does enter the nucleus. However, it does not alter the cell’s DNA in any way.
Continue to take precautions
According to the CDC, although COVID-19 vaccines are effective at keeping you from getting sick, scientists are still learning how well vaccines prevent you from spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 to others, even if you do not have symptoms. Early data show the vaccines do help keep people with no symptoms from spreading COVID-19, but we are learning more as more people get vaccinated.
The entire world is still learning how long COVID-19 vaccines protect people.
For these reasons, people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 should keep taking precautions in public places, such as wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, and washing their hands often.