March 24, 2021
COVID-19 vaccination is safe* and highly effective at preventing COVID-19. Here are common myths and facts about the vaccines.
Myth: COVID-19 vaccines were developed too quickly. They aren’t safe.
Fact: The COVID-19 vaccines authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for public use have been proven safe and effective. They have gone through the same strict laboratory testing and large clinical trials as other vaccines including the flu shot, the tetanus vaccine, and the polio vaccine. Independent experts have carefully reviewed all the data to help ensure that the vaccines have met the necessary safety standards. For additional information, you can read about the vaccines’ development and authorization process, or find out what medical experts are saying about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines.
Myth: The vaccines can infect me with COVID-19.
Fact: The vaccines cannot make you sick with COVID-19 because they do not contain the virus that causes COVID-19. You may experience side effects, such as a fever, chills, or fatigue after the vaccination. This is normal. It means your body is responding to the vaccine by making antibodies, but it does not mean you have COVID-19.
Myth: I will be completely immune to COVID-19 after I’m vaccinated.
Fact: While the COVID-19 vaccines are extremely effective, there is still a small possibility of infection after vaccination. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are about 95% effective in preventing COVID-19 illness 7 to 10 days after the second dose is received.
Myth: I never have to wear a mask or observe social distancing after I am vaccinated.
Fact: Evolving guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that fully vaccinated individuals can gather together indoors without wearing masks. They can also gather with unvaccinated individuals from one other household as long as the unvaccinated individuals do not have an increased risk for infection. However, in all other settings you will still need to wear a mask, wash your hands often, and observe physical distancing until we reach herd immunity and the virus stops spreading. Be sure to follow the most recent guidelines from the CDC and your local health authorities.
Myth: I don’t need to be vaccinated because I’m not at risk.
Fact: Being vaccinated will help keep you, your family, and your community healthy and safe. The CDC recommends that as many eligible adults as possible be vaccinated regardless of their infection risk, to help stop the spread and prevent more illnesses and deaths from COVID-19. Everyone needs protection against COVID-19, even young and healthy adults. The more vaccinated people there are, the harder it is for the virus to spread. Also, if you’ve already had COVID-19, there is no guarantee you will not be infected again. If you are pregnant, have severe allergies, or have concerns about receiving the vaccines, consult your doctor.
Myth: I can pay to be on a priority list to be vaccinated.
Fact: You cannot pay to be placed on a priority list for the vaccines. At this time, the order of distribution in most areas is based on your risk for infection. If someone asks you for payment in exchange for being put on a vaccines priority list, you are likely the target of a vaccines scam. Learn more about vaccines scams and how to report them to authorities.
Myth: The vaccines contain questionable substances.
Fact: The FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines do not contain fetal tissue, implants, microchips, tracking devices, or anything that could change your DNA. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines contain mRNA, which triggers the making of antibodies and then breaks down. Visit the CDC website to learn more.
Myth: You can still be infected after vaccination, which proves vaccines don’t work.
Fact: While the COVID-19 vaccines are extremely effective at preventing infection, it’s true there is still a small risk of infection. However, if you become infected with COVID-19 after being vaccinated, the vaccines can still help by lessening the severity of symptoms. Less severe symptoms among infected people will mean fewer hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19.
Myth: Receiving the current vaccines won’t protect me against new COVID-19 variants.
Fact: Current information shows that the FDA-authorized vaccines remain effective in protecting people from the strains of COVID-19 that are currently circulating. In addition, even if you become infected with a new strain of COVID-19, the current vaccines can help lessen the severity of your symptoms. If needed, vaccine boosters may be developed and distributed over time to help combat any new COVID-19 variants.
Myth: The vaccines only received an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA, which means they did not go through a full testing and review process.
Fact: An EUA helps provide new medical products during a public health emergency through an accelerated process. However, for a vaccine to be given an EUA, the manufacturer must complete clinical trials and submit clinical, nonclinical, and manufacturing data gained from their development and testing process. FDA scientists, as well as independent scientific and public health experts, review the safety and effectiveness data before deciding whether the potential benefits of a product outweigh the potential risks. Vaccines that receive EUA have been thoroughly tested and reviewed by experts.
It’s important to know the facts on COVID-19 and the vaccines, including when you may be eligible to receive one. For more updates and information, visit our Coronavirus Resource Center.
*Disclaimer: Please visit the CDC's website for more information about the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, including information about a very small number of reports involving a rare and severe type of blood clot in people who have received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. No one has reported similar blood clotting events associated with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. If you have questions about COVID-19 vaccines, please talk to your doctor.
U.S. Food & Drug Administration website: fda.gov.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website: cdc.gov.
World Health Organization website: who.int