COVID-19 Vaccines: Myths & Facts

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Updated: August 23, 2021

Accurate vaccine information is critical and can help stop common myths and rumors.

It can be difficult to know which sources of information you can trust. Before considering vaccine information on the Internet, check that the information comes from a credible source and is updated on a regular basis. Learn more about finding credible vaccine information.

We also recommend that you review these Misinformation Alerts for guidance on misinformation currently circulating online.

Myth: Can COVID-19 vaccines give me COVID-19?

Fact: No. None of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines 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.

COVID-19 vaccines teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Sometimes this process can cause symptoms, such as fever. These symptoms are normal and are signs that the body is building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work.

Myth: Do COVID-19 vaccines contain microchips?

Fact: No. COVID-19 vaccines do not contain microchips. Vaccines are developed to fight against disease and are not administered to track your movement. Vaccines work by stimulating your immune system to produce antibodies, exactly like it would if you were exposed to the disease. After getting vaccinated, you develop immunity to that disease, without having to get the disease first.Learn more about the ingredients in the COVID-19 vaccinations authorized for use in the United States.

Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work.

Myth: Can receiving a COVID-19 vaccine cause you to be magnetic?

Fact:  No. Receiving a COVID-19 vaccine will not make you magnetic, including at the site of vaccination which is usually your arm. COVID-19 vaccines do not contain ingredients that can produce an electromagnetic field at the site of your injection. All COVID-19 vaccines are free from metals.

Learn more about the ingredients in the COVID-19 vaccinations authorized for use in the United States.

Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work.

Myth: Do any of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States shed or release any of their components?

Fact: No. Vaccine shedding is the term used to describe the release or discharge of any of the vaccine components in or outside of the body. Vaccine shedding can only occur when a vaccine contains a weakened version of the virus. None of the vaccines authorized for use in the U.S. contain a live virus. mRNA and viral vector vaccines are the two types of currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines available.

Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work.

Myth: Is it safe for me to get a COVID-19 vaccine if I would like to have a baby one day?

Fact:  Yes. If you are trying to become pregnant now or want to get pregnant in the future, you may get a COVID-19 vaccine when one is available to you.

There is currently no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination causes any problems with pregnancy, including the development of the placenta. In addition, there is no evidence that female or male fertility problems are a side effect of any vaccine, including COVID-19 vaccines.

Myth: Will a COVID-19 vaccine alter my DNA?

Fact: No. COVID-19 vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way. Both mRNA and viral vector COVID-19 vaccines deliver instructions (genetic material) to our cells to start building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. However, the material never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept.

Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work.

Myth: Will getting a COVID-19 vaccine cause me to test positive for COVID-19 on a viral test?

Fact:  No. None of the authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you have a current infection.​

If your body develops an immune response to vaccination, which is the goal, you may test positive on some antibody tests. Antibody tests indicate you had a previous infection and that you may have some level of protection against the virus.

Learn more about the possibility of COVID-19 illness after vaccination.

Myth: If I have already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine?

Fact:  Yes. You should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19 because:

Evidence is emerging that people get better protection by being fully vaccinated compared with having had COVID-19. One study showed that unvaccinated people who already had COVID-19 are more than 2 times as likely than fully vaccinated people to get COVID-19 again. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine. 

Experts are still learning more about how long vaccines protect against COVID-19. CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available.

Myth: Is it really true that COVID-19 vaccines can protect me from getting sick with COVID-19?

Fact:  Yes. COVID-19 vaccination works by teaching your immune system how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19, and this protects you from getting sick with COVID-19.

Being protected from getting sick is important because even though many people with COVID-19 have only a mild illness, others may get a severe illness, have long-term health effects, or even die. There is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you, even if you don’t have an increased risk of developing severe complications.

Myth: Is it true that COVID-19 vaccines can cause severe allergic reactions and are not safe for people with allergies?

Fact: Maybe. Serious problems from vaccination can happen, but they are rare. CDC recommends people with a history of allergic reaction to a vaccine or injectable therapy for another disease, ask their doctor or healthcare provider about getting a COVID-19 vaccine. CDC recommends that people with a history of severe allergic reactions not related to vaccines or injectable medications—such as food, pet, venom, environmental, or latex allergies—get vaccinated.

People with a history of allergies to oral medications or a family history of severe allergic reactions may also get vaccinated. Again, if you have questions about whether vaccines are right for you, consult with your doctor or healthcare provider.

Public health guidance on COVID-19 is constantly evolving. Health Action Alliance is committed to regularly updating our materials once we've engaged public health, business and communications experts about the implications of new guidance from the public health community and effective business strategies that align with public health goals. Together, we can turn the tide against COVID-19 and build a stronger, healthier future.

Source: Adapted from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention