Ever since the pandemic began, the Internet has been loaded with theories and opinions about the COVID-19 virus and the vaccines used to fight it. But some of this information is inaccurate and offers potentially dangerous advice. Here are 10 myths and misconceptions about the COVID-19 virus and vaccines. With each entry are included clarifying facts, all based on information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
1. COVID-19 vaccines can make me sick with the actual disease.
None of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines contain the live virus that causes the disease, so they cannot make you sick. COVID-19 vaccines teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus. This process can cause fever and other symptoms, but these symptoms are normal. They are signs that the body is building protection against the virus. It can take a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination, so it’s possible for a person to become infected with the virus just before or after vaccination when the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.
2. A COVID-19 vaccine can mutate or alter my DNA.
COVID-19 vaccines do not change, mutate, or interact with DNA in any way. COVID-19 vaccines deliver instructions (genetic material) to our cells to start building protection against the virus. That material never enters the nucleus of our cells, which is where our DNA is kept. COVID-19 vaccines work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop disease immunity.
3. I shouldn’t receive the COVID-19 vaccine if I want to have a baby someday.
If you want to become pregnant in the future, you can still receive the COVID-19 vaccine. At this time, there is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination causes any fertility problems, or problems with pregnancy or the development of the placenta. Like all vaccines, scientists are studying COVID-19 vaccines carefully for side effects and will continue to study them for years to come.
4. I’ve already caught and recovered from the COVID-19 virus, so I don’t need to receive the vaccine.
You should still be vaccinated, even if you’ve already recovered from COVID-19. Experts do not yet know how long you are protected from the illness after recovering from COVID-19. Even if you’ve already recovered from COVID-19, it is still possible, although rare, to be infected with the virus again. Experts are still learning about how long vaccines protect against the virus. The CDC will keep the public informed as new information becomes available.
5. I’ve already received full vaccination, so I don’t need to wear a mask or maintain distance from others anymore.
Fully vaccinated people should continue to wear masks and stay six feet apart from other people in social settings, like when they are in public or visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple households. Fully vaccinated people can gather indoors without physical distancing or wearing masks with:
- Other people who are fully vaccinated, or
- Unvaccinated people from one other household, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for illness from COVID-19.
6. I can receive COVID-19 vaccine shots while I am still sick with the disease.
People with COVID-19 who have symptoms should wait to be vaccinated until they have recovered from their illness and no longer need to be isolated. Those without symptoms should also wait until they no longer require isolation before getting vaccinated. These suggestions also apply to people who catch the COVID-19 virus before receiving their second dose of vaccine.
7. If you’ve received your COVID-19 vaccine shots, you don’t need to wear a mask while traveling.
If you plan to travel, you should still protect yourself and others. You’ll still be required to wear a mask on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation while traveling into, within, or out of the United States, and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations. Fully vaccinated international travelers arriving in the United States are still required to get tested three days before traveling by air into America, or show documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past three months, and should still get tested three to five days after their trip.
8. If you’ve received your COVID-19 vaccine shots and then experience side effects, that means that the shots gave you the disease.
COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you from getting the disease. You may have some side effects, but these are normal signs that your body is building protection. These side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. Some people have no side effects.
9. If you’ve received your COVID-19 vaccine shots, you are automatically immune and don’t ever have to worry about catching the disease from anyone.
You should still watch out for symptoms of COVID-19 – especially if you’ve been around someone who is sick. If you start to show COVID-19 symptoms, you should get tested and stay home, away from others.
10. Children don’t need to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.
COVID-19 vaccination can help protect your child from getting COVID-19. Although fewer children have been sick with COVID-19 compared to adults, children can be infected with the virus and become sick and spread the virus to others. Getting your child vaccinated helps to protect your child and your family. Vaccination is now recommended for everyone 12 years and older. Currently, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is the only one available to children 12 years and older.
Thanks to our colleagues at the Kane County Health Department for compiling and sharing this information!