COVID-19 Vaccine Myths and Facts

COVID-19 vaccine fact or myth?

For the last several months, there's been a lot of misinformation circulating about the COVID-19 vaccine. We want to make sure our patients are armed with the facts when making decisions about their health.

That's why we're setting the record straight about some of the most common COVID vaccine myths.

The vaccine causes COVID-19.

It is impossible to contract COVID-19 from taking the vaccine. Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are both synthetic. Neither vaccine contains any live virus. Those who get vaccinated may experience temporary side effects, such as discomfort and swelling at the injection site, muscle or joint aches, mild fever, tiredness and headache—which are signs that it's working!

The COVID-19 vaccine was rushed to market.

The COVID-19 vaccine has had the benefit of over a decade of cutting-edge research, some of it done right here at Penn Medicine. The progress of the last 11 months shifts the paradigm for what's possible, creating a new model for vaccine development.

The COVID-19 vaccine causes sterility.

Because COVID-19 mRNA vaccines aren't made from a live virus, scientists don't believe they can cause an increased risk of infertility, first or second trimester loss, stillbirth, or congenital anomalies.

I will have immunity from COVID-19 right after receiving the vaccine.

It takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. People can expect to be protected against COVID-19 about a week after the second vaccine shot.

I only need one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The only two vaccines currently available—the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines—both require two shots to be effective. Other future vaccines may be different, so it’s important to follow the recommendations for the vaccine you receive to ensure its full benefits.

There is a tracking microchip in the COVID-19 vaccine.

There are no trackable ingredients in the vaccines. The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines contain mRNA, which is a piece of genetic code that tells our cells what to do. It is naturally found in all of our cells. But in 2005, infectious disease experts at Penn Medicine discovered how to modify mRNA to safely make our cells create proteins similar to those found in some viruses. Once those proteins are made, our immune systems can then create antibodies for that virus. Neither the mRNA, nor the proteins it creates, contain a microchip or are traceable.

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