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COVID-19 Vaccine Myths vs. Facts

By Kevin Watler, Public Information Officer

April 05, 2021

Now that there are approved COVID-19 vaccines in Hillsborough County, accurate information about them is critical. Hillsborough County residents are rolling up their sleeves and showing off their #CrushCOVIDHC "I Got Vaccinated" stickers. Yet some residents still may have lingering concerns. Watch video here

Can a COVID-19 vaccine make you sick with the coronavirus?

According to the CDC, the answer is no.

None of the authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. Vaccines teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Some common side effects from the vaccine can be pain, redness, and swelling in the arm where you received the shot, as well as fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea.

Health experts say that if you experience any of these side effects, they should last only a few days. It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means that it is possible for a person to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or even after vaccination and still get sick.

Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work

If you have already had COVID-19 and recovered, do you still need to get vaccinated?

Health experts say that you should be vaccinated, even if you already had COVID-19. That's because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered, it is possible you could be infected with the virus again.

If you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure of what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

Is it safe to get a COVID-19 vaccine if you would like to have a baby one day?

According to the CDC, yes.

If you are trying to become pregnant now or want to get pregnant in the future, you are safe to receive a COVID-19 vaccine when one is available to you. There is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccinations cause any problems with pregnancy, including the development of the placenta. In addition, there is no evidence that fertility problems are a side effect of any vaccine, including ones for COVID-19.

Will a COVID-19 vaccine alter your DNA?

No. COVID-19 vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way.

There are two types of COVID-19 vaccines that have been authorized for use in the United States: messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines and viral vector vaccines. The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are mRNA vaccines, which teach our cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response. The mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept.

Johnson & Johnson's Janssen COVID-19 vaccine is a viral vector vaccine. Viral vector vaccines use a modified version of a different, harmless virus (the vector) to deliver important instructions to our cells to start building protection. The instructions are delivered in the form of genetic material. This material does not integrate into a person's DNA.

At the end of the process, our bodies have learned how to protect against future infection from COVID-19. That immune response and the antibodies that our bodies make protect us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.

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