Myths and Facts: What you need to know about COVID-19 vaccines

Reinforcements in the fight against COVID-19 have arrived in the form of safe and effective vaccines that are being distributed across the United States. While these vaccines represent a turning point in the ongoing effort to save lives from this pandemic, many myths exist about the vaccines, side effects, and what you should do after you are vaccinated.

With that in mind, the experts at McLaren Flint are here to answer some common misconceptions about COVID-19 vaccinations to help you know the facts.

Myth: COVID-19 vaccines were developed using untested or untrustworthy technology.

Fact: “The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use a new, mRNA technology that has been used in other treatments for more than a decade,” said Binesh Patel, MD, McLaren Flint Chief Medical Officer. “Vaccines were tested, trialed, and deemed safe and effective before being granted emergency use by the FDA.”

 Myth: The vaccine will give you COVID-19.

Fact: While some vaccines for certain viruses contain that specific virus in a dead or weakened state in order to elicit an immune response, the leading COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) use mRNA technology, which does not contain the virus nor does it cause infection.

Myth: The vaccine will alter your DNA.

Fact: The mRNA in the vaccines does not integrate with the body’s DNA, nor does it enter the nucleus. The mRNA vaccines cause the body’s cells to create the spike proteins used by the coronavirus to infect healthy cells, but not the coronavirus itself. This is what triggers an immune response, training your body to defend against the virus.

Myth: The side effects from the vaccine are dangerous.

Fact: “The flu-like effects that can come from COVID-19 vaccines are a sign that your body’s immune system is responding and building your protection against the virus,” said Dr. Patel. “Allergic reactions have been reported in extremely rare cases. Talking to your doctor can help you address any concerns you may have.”

Myth: You don’t need the vaccine if you’ve had COVID-19.

Fact: Those who have recovered from COVID-19 do have natural immunity, but experts don’t yet know exactly how long that natural immunity lasts. There have been many recorded cases of people becoming infected with COVID-19 more than once, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends vaccines for those who have recovered from COVID-19.

Myth: You don’t have to wear a mask or socially distance after getting vaccinated.

Fact: While the vaccine has been shown to be effective against infection and becoming sick from COVID-19, experts do not yet know if being vaccinated can prevent you from spreading COVID-19 to others. Because of this, you should continue to wear a mask, practice social distancing and hand hygiene, and avoid large gatherings, even after being vaccinated.

For more information on COVID-19 vaccines, visit