Many myths have circulated social media and news outlets since the onset of COVID-19 and specifically about the COVID-19 vaccines. As healthcare professionals, we can’t sit idly by and allow the truth about COVID-19 vaccines to go unheard. Here are the facts about the COVID-19 vaccines, checked and signed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Arin Piramzadian.
Does the COVID-19 vaccine contain the COVID-19 virus?
NO: The two authorized messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines instruct your body’s cells to reproduce a protein that is part of the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, helping your body recognize and fight the virus if it comes along. The vaccine does not contain the SARS-CoV-2 virus, so you cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine.
The two mRNA vaccines (Moderna and Pfizer) do not contain any part of the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. mRNA stands for messenger RNA which is how the vaccine only shows the blueprints of the virus and tells the body how to fight against the virus if it sees it.
Is the messenger RNA technology used to make the COVID-19 vaccine brand new?
NO: The mRNA technology behind the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines has been in development for almost two decades. Vaccine-makers created the technology to help them respond quickly to a new pandemic illness such as COVID-19. That long-term research combined with the urgency brought on by COVID-19, which led to additional funding and global collaboration, resulted in the quick development of these new vaccines.
Will the COVID-19 vaccine change my DNA?
NO: Both mRNA (Pfizer, Moderna) and viral vector (Johnson & Johnson) vaccines enter the cells but not the nucleus of the cells where DNA resides. The mRNA causes the cell to make protein to stimulate the immune system, and then it quickly breaks down without affecting your DNA.
Does the COVID-19 vaccine affect women’s fertility?
NO: The vaccine tells your body to create copies of the spike protein found on the coronavirus’ surface, teaching your immune system to fight the virus that has that specific spike protein on it. False reports have claimed the COVID-19 spike protein is identical to another that’s involved with pregnancy. The two spike proteins are completely different and distinct, so getting the COVID-19 vaccine does not affect a woman’s fertility, nor does it make men sterile. Actually, more women got pregnant in the vaccine studies than those who got only the placebo shot.
Should pregnant women receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
YES: There is currently no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination causes any problems with pregnancy, including the development of the placenta. CDC data on more than 30,000 pregnancies found no safety concerns — specifically, no unexpected pregnancy or infant outcomes and no increase in the rate of miscarriage. The American Academy of Obstetrics and Gynecology encourages pregnant women to get vaccinated since pregnancy is actually a risk factor for death in people who get sick from COVID.
Should vaccinated woman breastfeed their children?
YES: Researchers in Massachusetts found the new mRNA COVID-19 vaccines to be highly effective in producing antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus in both pregnant and lactating women. They found that the vaccines confer protective immunity to newborns through breast milk and the placenta. One of our own Nurse Practitioners who got vaccinated passed on the antibodies to her baby and is protecting him from COVID.
Do uninsured people need to pay for a COVID-19 vaccine?
NO: There is absolutely no payment necessary for a COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of whether you have health insurance or not.
Can undocumented people receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
YES: You can walk into any of StarMed’s multiple vaccination clinics or facilities — a list of which can be found at www.starmed.care — and receive a vaccination providing nothing but your name. We are a medical practice and want only to help keep you safe.
Do I need the COVID-19 vaccine if I have already had COVID-19?
YES: Unfortunately, since so many people have gotten COVID-19, it continues to mutate into variants that our immune system can’t recognize and protect us from even after we’ve been sick already with COVID-19. So not only can you get sick multiple times but as the mutations get deadlier it can become very serious even to those who are otherwise healthy.
Is one vaccine shot enough?
NO: Similar to the myth that people who have had COVID-19 don’t need a vaccine, some believe that receiving one shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines is enough, when both actually require two shots taken weeks apart. The first shot will produce some immune response, but not strong enough to provide the protection needed for long-lasting immunity. There are lots of vaccines in the past that require a “series” of shots to make sure they last longer and protect you.
Will side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine keep me out of work?
NO: The most common side effects include soreness or rash at the injection site on the arm. A stronger reaction (fever, chills, tiredness, and headaches) is not uncommon after the second dose and indicates your body is having a strong immune response to the vaccine, though these effects are rarely strong enough to affect your day-to-day life. Older adults are less likely to experience side effects after vaccination.
Does the COVID-19 vaccine contain questionable substances?
NO: The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines contain mRNA, fats, which protect the mRNA; salts; and a small amount of sugar. These are the most natural vaccines ever made. Regarding a specific myth spread on social media, these vaccines were not developed using fetal tissue or any harmful substances.
Do the COVID-19 vaccines contain magnetic microchips?
NO: Some people have posted videos to social media showing them sticking magnets to the arm where they were vaccinated, attempting to prove the existence of a microchip implanted for tracking purposes. As proven in responding videos, this is a trick that can be accomplished with the use of some Vaseline or even naturally oily skin. There is no tracking microchip in existence that can pass through a syringe. While we all think we are special, the government doesn’t need to track us using vaccines.
Do vaccinated people “shed” the coronavirus?
NO: This myth has made the rounds on social media, not only discouraging unvaccinated people from getting vaccinated, but also discouraging them from even being around vaccinated people. 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. There is no harm at all from being around someone who has been vaccinated, and in fact someone else being vaccinated helps to protect you even if you aren’t.