COVID-19 Vaccine:
Myths Versus Facts

Now more than ever, having access to accurate COVID-19 vaccine information in South Florida is critical. Wherever you get your information, check that it’s coming from a credible source and that it’s updated on a regular basis. Unfortunately, there’s been a lot of disinformation circulating about the coronavirus vaccines and their development. It’s important to distinguish between myths and facts about COVID-19 so you can make the best decision for you and your family.

MYTH

The development was rushed so the effectiveness and safety of the COVID vaccine cannot be trusted.

FACT

Given the speed, it is natural to ask: Is the coronavirus vaccine safe? Even though the coronavirus vaccines were developed more quickly than other vaccines in the past, they have been carefully tested on thousands of people and continue to be monitored.

Medical experts from South Florida to across the world, and governments worldwide have invested significant resources into quickly developing a vaccine for COVID-19 because of the world-wide impact of the pandemic. Both the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine used similar processes when developing their vaccine. Even though COVID-19 is new, these types of viruses (called coronaviruses) have been studied since the 1960s. This knowledge helped scientists understand the virus to make a vaccine quickly.

Since then, more than 130 million people across the country have received COVID-19 vaccines under the most intense safety monitoring in U.S. history. In Florida alone, nearly 14 million vaccine doses have been given. The results of this monitoring are reassuring: some people have no side effects at all, while many people say they feel some pain or swelling at the injection site, headaches, chills or a low-grade fever. All of these are mild and temporary.

A very small number of people have had a severe allergic reaction, but this is extremely rare. And if it does happen, the healthcare professional administering the COVID-19 vaccine has medicine to immediately and effectively treat the reaction.

MYTH

The COVID-19 vaccine enters your cells and changes your DNA.

FACT

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine both teach your cells to trigger your immune system to kick in and protect you. The materials in these COVID-19 vaccines never enter the part of your body’s cells where DNA is kept. That means it cannot affect or interact with your DNA in any way. Instead, these vaccines work with your body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to disease.

The Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine works a little differently. It uses a different and harmless virus to deliver instructions to your cells and tells them to start building protection. The instructions are delivered in the form of genetic material that never integrates into a person’s DNA. Instead, these instructions tell the cell to produce a harmless piece of virus that causes COVID-19 and triggers your immune system to recognize the virus that causes COVID-19 and to begin producing antibodies and activating other immune cells to fight off what it thinks is an infection.

Whichever vaccine you take, at the end of the process, your body will have learned how to protect against future infection from COVID-19.

MYTH

The ingredients in the COVID-19 vaccine contain controversial substances.

FACT

So what ingredients are in the COVID-19 vaccine? The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine,  Moderna COVID-19 and the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine all contain normal vaccine ingredients, such as single strand molecules, fats, salts, and a small amount of sugar. These vaccines were not developed using fetal tissue, and they do not contain any material, such as implants, microchips or tracking devices.

MYTH

COVID-19 vaccine side effects are dangerous.

FACT

The COVID-19 vaccine can have side effects, but the majority are very short term, and not serious or dangerous. Some people experience pain where they were injected, body aches, headaches or fever and they tend to last for no more than a day or two. These are signs the vaccine is working to activate your immune system. 

If symptoms persist beyond two days, you should call your doctor. If you have allergies — especially severe ones that require you to carry an EpiPen — discuss the possible allergic reactions of the COVID-19 vaccine with your doctor, who can assess your risk and provide more information about if and how you can get vaccinated safely.

If you don’t have a doctor, find one here. 

MYTH

The COVID-19 vaccine is riskier than the flu vaccine.

FACT

Raw data shows that the rate of reported side-effects — ranging from mild side effects to serious health problems or death — following COVID-19 vaccinations is many times higher than for flu shots.

However, these reports, which are sent to a tracking system managed by the federal government, are not verified. CDC and experts, therefore, say the data cannot be used to draw any conclusions and too new to make meaningful comparisons with flu shots.

MYTH

You have already had COVID-19, so you do not need to be vaccinated.

FACT

People who have gotten sick with COVID-19 may still benefit from getting vaccinated. Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, people may be advised to get a COVID-19 vaccine even if they have been sick with COVID-19 before.

There is not enough information currently available to say if or for how long people are protected from getting COVID-19 after they have had it. Early evidence suggests natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last very long, but more studies are needed to better understand this.

MYTH

The vaccine can give you COVID-19.

FACT

Wondering if you can get coronavirus from taking the COVID-19 vaccine? The vaccine for COVID-19 cannot and will not give you COVID-19. That’s because none of the vaccines contain the actual virus. If you feel side-effects like chills, fever or fatigue, as though you’re getting sick, it’s actually your immune system kicking and doing what it’s supposed to do to protect you.  

MYTH

You are healthy. You don’t need the COVID-19 vaccine.

FACT

COVID-19 can be severe for anyone. The protection you get from the vaccine is not just for yourself, but for others around you in your South Florida community. The more individuals who are vaccinated, the less the virus can continue to transmit and the faster we can get out of this pandemic, and back to a normal South Florida lifestyle. If you have any specific concerns about how you might react to the virus, consult with your health care provider. If you don’t have a doctor, find one here. 

MYTH

The COVID-19 vaccine can affect women’s fertility.

FACT

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists calls allegations linking the COVID-19 vaccine and infertility “unfounded” and “scientifically disproven.” In fact, during the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine trials, 23 women volunteers involved in the study became pregnant. The only one who suffered a pregnancy loss had not received the actual vaccine, but a placebo.

Women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant should consider the facts about the coronavirus vaccine as well as what could happen if they develop severe COVID-19 symptoms while pregnant, which can have potentially serious impact on the pregnancy and the mother’s health.

COVID-19 Vaccine Wisdom Straight from the South Florida Community

Dr. Yvonne Johnson
South Miami Hospital
{Millions of people have already taken the vaccine, because they are a safe and simple way to keep you protected. Ask your doctor if you have questions, because we are here to help.{
Dr. Sergio Segarra
Baptist Hospital of Miami
{Getting everyone vaccinated pushes our community forward. It’s the best and fastest way for us to safely get back to life with our loved ones, back to working and back to enjoying activities.{
Dr. Lopez-Luciano
Homestead Hospital
{Do it to help keep your community safe. If you get COVID-19, you may not have any severe symptoms, but it could be life-threatening to your family and friends with other health issues.{