COVID-19 VACCINE FACTS & MYTHS
Will I test positive for the COVID-19 virus if I have had the vaccine?
- No, you will test positive for the antibodies, but not for the virus.
Will the vaccine make me sick with COVID-19?
- No, none of the approved vaccines contain the live virus, which means that getting vaccinated will not cause you to get sick with COVID-19.
Can I expect any side effects after I get the shot?
- Yes, you may experience some minor symptoms. Most likely your arm will be sore for about a day. There may be other flu-like symptoms that will respond to Tylenol or Advil. These manageable symptoms are very limited in duration, a day or so at most.
Is there a chance there may be side effects and adverse effects that we don’t know about for the future?
- None of the current science to date points to any actual long term adverse effect that support various hypothetical theories.
If I have a lot of allergic reactions should I get the vaccine?
- Yes, but possibly with a little more observation. Discuss with your doctor.
Can I stop worrying about COVID-19 precautions if I get both doses of the vaccine?
- Not yet. While you will most likely have protection from becoming ill, you may still be able to transmit the virus to other people who are not protected.
How long do the COVID-19 vaccines last? Do I need one every year like the flu shot?
- Unfortunately, we do not know yet. It is anticipated that the immunity will last longer than immunity developed from the infection itself. We have reason to suspect one to two years of protection and reinfection even after antibodies from the vaccine wane will most likely not be as potentially dangerous even after that.
How will I know when it is my turn to get a COVID-19 vaccine?
- Unfortunately, the criteria are different at every state and even at the county-level. Check your state’s Department of Health website or with your R-Health physician to keep you updated with this information.
Do I really need to get both shots?
- Yes, you do. The longer lasting immunity is based on the multiple exposures to the vaccine. There are vaccines in very late-stage development which are a single shot, however there is nothing to support single shot vaccination with the two mRNA vaccines that are currently available.
Can’t I just let the COVID-19 virus run its course and get natural immunity?
- No, this is a myth. Strong immunity from a vaccination is better than natural immunity. Even if you have had the virus, you should still get vaccinated to protect yourself and those around you.
Weren’t these vaccines rushed in their development?
- No. The safety and approval process for the COVID-19 vaccines is the same as any other new immunization or medication. Normally it does take years to develop and test a new vaccine, but in this case the pharmaceutical companies had a head start because scientists have been working on coronavirus vaccines for years for other variations of the coronavirus including SARS and MERS. It is also important to note that no clinical steps were skipped but there were modifications to the process including overlapping phases of the clinical trials and moving into production while the companies were awaiting final approval.
Is it true that the mRNA vaccines can change my DNA?
- No, this is not true. The messenger RNA, or mRNA, does not affect your DNA. It instructs your body to build the coronavirus’ spike protein, which then teaches your body to produce antibodies to combat the coronavirus when it encounters it later.
Will it be my choice about which vaccine to take? How is one to know which of the vaccines available that they should take?
- At this point in time, there is no way to declare a preference as to which vaccine to get. More importantly, there is no known reason to choose one vaccine over another.
Is the vaccine safe for everyone? Are there some people who shouldn’t get it?
- The vaccine is recommended for the frail elderly, immunocompromised, pregnant and nursing women, and people who are recovered from COVID-19. If you have an allergy to current vaccines, the CDC recommends that you stay for 30 minutes of observation after your vaccination. Currently, the only group recommended to not take the vaccine are persons with known allergy to one of the components in the vaccine.
- Currently, the vaccine from Pfizer is recommended for children 16 years and older while the Moderna vaccine is recommended for people who are 18 years and older. This has more to do with how the vaccines were studied rather than any inherent difference in how the vaccines would work.
Can I get other vaccines at the same time as getting the COVID-19 vaccine?
- Just to be cautious, it is recommended that you leave two weeks on either side of the COVID-19 vaccination. But, if you require a tetanus shot or are part of a measles or hepatitis outbreak, co-administering the vaccines is expected and appropriate.
What happens if a lot of people opt out of taking the vaccine?
- COVID-19 will continue to overburden our healthcare system and take much longer to end the pandemic. In addition, many needless deaths and illness will occur.
Why should I wait to schedule a screening mammography after the second dose?
- The COVID-19 vaccine may cause normal and temporary lymph node enlargement in the axilla (armpit), causing difficult interpretation in mammogram imaging. If you are due for a screening mammography, the Society of Breast Imaging has issued guidelines recommending scheduling 6 weeks after the second COVID-19 dose.
Do I have to quarantine after traveling if I’ve been fully vaccinated?
- In accordance with the CDC guidelines, it is recommended that if a person has waited 2 weeks until after their vaccination has completed AND begun travel after that time, no quarantine is needed. However, please inquire with your employers as they may make other recommendations with regards to travel. Please note that state requirements may vary.
Last updated 2/19/21.
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