Despite what you may have heard, the COVID-19 vaccine does not cause infertility or miscarriage. There is no evidence that any COVID-19 vaccine causes problems during pregnancy, including development of the placenta. If you’re currently pregnant or hoping to become pregnant, the COVID-19 vaccine is both safe and encouraged. In fact, getting vaccinated for COVID-19 actually helps protect you and your baby from COVID-19.
While it’s true that surviving COVID-19 does provide some natural immunity, that doesn’t mean you should skip out on vaccination. The amount of immunity provided after infection varies in both strength and duration. Current evidence suggests that the risk of reinfection, although uncommon in the first few months after, may increase with time. Getting vaccinated for COVID-19 greatly reduces your chance of reinfection.
You shouldn’t get vaccinated immediately after recovering from COVID-19, but you should still get vaccinated after you’ve met the criteria for discontinuing isolation, or longer depending on the kind of treatment you received. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received for COVID-19 or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
You may have heard that getting the COVID-19 vaccine will earn you a positive test result from a viral COVID-19 test. But this isn’t true.
Viral tests, like the diagnostic tests given at COVID-19 testing sites, can determine if you’re currently infected at the time the test is given. These tests look for the COVID-19 virus genome, which is found in the live COVID-19 virus. None of the vaccines currently in use in the US contain the live virus, so you can’t test positive for the COVID-19 virus from vaccination alone.
Since COVID-19 vaccines do create COVID-19 antibodies - after all, that’s what they’re made for - you may test positive if you take an antibody test. Refer to the CDC for more information about the difference between viral and antibody tests, and for more information about COVID-19 myths and facts.
A persistent rumor swirling around the internet claims the COVID-19 vaccine has the power to alter your DNA. The basis of this rumor has its roots in confusion over the mechanics of one type of COVID-19 vaccine.
Each of your cells contains a strand of DNA inside of a nucleus. The mRNA found in Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine never enters the nucleus and doesn’t mess with your DNA. All it does is teach your immune system how to ward off COVID-19.
Researchers have been studying with and working with mRNA vaccines for decades, but to the layperson, the science behind DNA and mRNA can be confusing. Anti-vaccination advocates take advantage of this confusion to advance baseless claims that only sound scientific. Don’t let them fool you. Do your own research, and make your own educated choice. The CDC is a good place to start your research: https://bit.ly/3uLCzN8
We don’t know yet how long immunity lasts after COVID-19 infection. The strength of natural immunity provided by COVID-19 infection varies greatly depending on severity of infection, but the immunity provided by the COVID-19 vaccine is dependably strong and safe. And you don’t have to suffer COVID-19 illness and risk hospitalization, death, or long COVID if you get your immunity from vaccination.
While we don’t know how much natural immunity is provided by any one COVID-19 infection, we do know that getting vaccinated after you’ve had COVID-19 can only improve your immunity to the virus. Just make sure you don’t get vaccinated too soon after you’ve recovered from COVID-19. Talk to your healthcare provider if you’ve recently recovered from COVID-19 and are seeking vaccination. For answers to common questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, refer to the CDC.
You may have heard claims online that vaccinated people risk “shedding” parts of the vaccine onto others. This isn’t true. No parts of the vaccine “shed” from vaccinated individuals onto others.
This myth is based on two premises, both borrowed from other debunked COVID-19 myths.
Viral shedding happens when someone who’s been infected by a virus, such as COVID-19, expels (or sheds) particles of the virus when they breathe, cough or sneeze. This is why we recommend the use of masks or face coverings - they prevent those infected with COVID-19 illness from shedding the virus and help protect you from catching the virus if you’re around someone who is infected.
Since none of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in use in the United States contain any part of the live COVID-19 virus, it’s not possible for you to catch COVID-19 from vaccination, so you can’t shed the virus by getting vaccinated. Likewise, you can’t shed any vaccine components.
Vaccines aren’t contagious. Far fewer people would need to get vaccinated against any illness if that were the case. Since vaccines aren’t contagious and can't be shed, we need as many people to get vaccinated as possible to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus - which actually can be shed. COVID-19 can also harm pregnant women and lead to pregnancy complications.
Bottom line--if you’re currently planning or hoping to become vaccinated, you won’t shed parts of the vaccine onto others.
Did you know that nearly all anti-vaccine propaganda comes from just 12 people? That’s right. A dozen people are responsible for spreading nearly every myth you’ve heard about vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccine. If you’ve heard something fishy about a vaccine, chances are you’d get to one of these people’s computers if you followed the breadcrumbs far enough.
How can you know if the information you’re hearing comes from a reputable source, or from one of these 12 people? It’s easier than you’d think: usually a simple Google search is all that’s needed. A good rule of thumb when verifying information is a quick source check. Who’s cited in any claim? Is the cited work coming from a reputable source, or just a source that sounds reputable?
For more information on the disinformation dozen, check out the Citizens Against Digital Hate’s recent report. For credible, verifiable and reliable information about the COVID-19 vaccine, you can always get info from the CDC, DOH, Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic or John Hopkins University.
If you feel drawn to the COVID-19 vaccine, it’s because you’ve heard of all the protection it offers you against COVID-19, not because it’s literally magnetic.
One of the latest myths circulating the internet claims the COVID-19 vaccine is magnetic, and that magnets can attach to your arm at the injection site. That hasn’t stopped some people from trying to spread this myth by posting fake videos online, showing magnets stuck to their arms after vaccination.
While it is possible to attract a magnet by taping a piece of metal to your arm with a bandaid, it’s not possible to draw a magnet from COVID-19 vaccination alone. None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in use contain any metal components.
As anyone who’s been vaccinated can tell you, their arms haven’t turned magnetic after vaccination. Don’t believe them? Try it out. Get a magnet and try to attach it to your vaccinated friend’s arm. This may be the easiest myth to debunk that was ever constructed.
Neither of the above premises, that the COVID-19 vaccine mortality rate is high and the COVID-19 virus fatality is low, are true.
Between December 14, 2020 and June 7, 2021, 302 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were administered in the United States. Of those doses, VAERS reported 5,208 deaths, which would account for just 0.0017% of all vaccines given, about one thousandth of one percent.
The actual fatality rate is likely much lower. VAERS accepts all reports of adverse medical outcomes that occur after vaccination, whether or not those outcomes are proven to be directly associated with vaccination. Since reports are voluntary, many VAERS reports may include incomplete, inaccurate, coincidental and unverifiable information.
In contrast, the current fatality rate for COVID-19 stands at roughly 1.8%. If we assumed every VAERS death report were true and directly related to vaccination, you’d still be more than a thousand times more likely to die from the virus than the vaccine.
A mortality rate of 1.8% might seem low, but a 1% mortality rate is actually 10 times deadlier than the seasonal flu. According to the CDC’s provisional mortality data for 2020, COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death in the United States last year, beaten only by cancer and heart disease.
Neither cancer nor heart disease are contagious, but COVID-19 is a highly contagious virus. Now that we have a vaccine for the virus, COVID-19 is also highly preventable. It’s now the single deadliest preventable infectious disease in the country.
The COVID-19 vaccines currently in use are some of the safest and most effective vaccines ever created. Some of the alternative treatments circulating on the internet, however, are downright dangerous.
Here’s a short list of unapproved and dangerous alternative COVID-19 treatments:
If you have COVID-19 and you need medical assistance, your medical provider will give you the appropriate treatment. If you don’t have COVID-19, you can keep yourself safe by wearing a mask and watching your distance until you’re able to get vaccinated. That’s the best protection available, and the safest.
Washington’s open now thanks to widespread vaccination, but that doesn’t mean the pandemic is over. We still need to wear masks in many settings, and we could slide back into full restrictions if our hospitals become overwhelmed.
The vaccine offers lots of protection against COVID-19, but only to those who get it. If you’re not yet vaccinated, you’re still vulnerable, and so are those around you. The virus hasn’t gone away. In fact, it’s only gotten stronger. New, more transmissible variants like the Delta variants raise the risk of serious COVID-19 illness for the unvaccinated.
You can help protect yourself and others by getting vaccinated for COVID-19 at the earliest opportunity. Go to VaccineLocator.doh.wa.gov to find a vaccine provider near you.