The COVID-19 vaccine: Myths vs. facts

The COVID-19 vaccine: Myths vs. facts

Since March, our team members have worked tirelessly to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Life looks different in nearly every aspect, and all of us want to return to normal. Finally, our way out of this is here – a vaccine.

While mass vaccination is the only way to end the pandemic, many myths circulate about this scientific success. It’s important to know the facts about the COVID-19 vaccine, which began rolling out at Advocate Aurora sites this week for front line team members. We must use science in our decisions regarding the vaccine, not misinformation spread on social media.

Here’s what you should know about three common myths.

Myth #1: The vaccine will give me COVID-19.

Fact: It won’t. It is impossible to contract the virus from the vaccine, which is created using mRNA technology and not a live virus. mRNA is a piece of harmless genetic material that triggers the body to make the coronavirus spike protein.  Your body then recognizes this protein and makes antibodies which prevent you from getting sick from the virus. This technology simulates an actual infection without ever having been exposed to the virus.

It’s also important to note the vaccine contains few ingredients, and no preservatives. There is no mercury or heavy metals in the vaccine, and it is not derived from fetal cells.. The vaccine is safe. And while common side effects include a sore arm, low-grade fever and fatigue, that just shows your body is responding appropriately to the vaccine. The benefits to getting the vaccine far outweigh any risks.

Myth #2: Once I get the vaccine, I’m protected so I can stop taking precautions against the virus.

Fact: We need to continue to wear masks and social distance. Eventually, once enough people are vaccinated, we can start to return to normal, but for now we must continue to take precautions. In studies surrounding the approved vaccine  It is possible  those vaccinated could continue to spread the virus even if they don’t  get sick. It will also take time for enough people to be vaccinated in our communities in order to reduce transmission of the virus. We hope to learn more about this in time, but must continue to wear masks, social distance and wash our hands frequently.

Myth #3: The vaccine has a microchip that will be used to track me or will alter my DNA.

Fact: This is false. There is a big disinformation campaign circulating on social media that is not based in science. While we strongly encourage use of the vaccine, we want to make sure that people who decline the vaccine are using accurate information to help them make that decision.  We urge people to get their vaccine information only from reputable sources. Advocate Aurora Health will continue to push out information from these sources to help keep you informed.

If you want to learn more about the vaccine, click here.

Dr. Robert Citronberg is Executive Medical Director of Infectious Disease and Prevention for Advocate Aurora Health.

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  1. Would appreciate your honest thoughts about Bell’s Palsy and the vaccine. Scary for many.

  2. Once a person gets the virus and recovers, will that person be able to move around in our communities freely without concern that they could become a carrier of the virus to others?

  3. Gloria Picchetti December 24, 2020 at 1:33 pm · Reply

    In my boyfriends’s Christmas card I made vacation & vaccine like a crossward puzzle. When covid broke out we were planning a trip. I take restrictions in stride but it’s good to make plans. Anyway I look forward to the vaccine.

  4. Good Afternoon,

    I am a Radiology Technologist at an Urgent Care in Homewood, IL. I was wondering if I am capable of getting the vaccination now and if so, where can I go to get vaccinated. This facility currently test patients for COV19.

  5. What are the possible side effects from taking the vaccine long-term i.e. 2 to 5 years down the road?

  6. Is the vaccination safe for women during the child bearing years? Should those women who are considering pregnancy avoid the vaccine and should those currently pregnant also avoid the vaccine?

    • I was wondering this same thing and discussed with my OB (who is with mercy health care). She recommended me not to get the vaccine at this time!

  7. In the quote above (from Myth #2): “In studies surrounding the approved vaccine It is possible those vaccinated could continue to spread the virus even if they don’t get sick” – Does this mean that the vaccinated person, if exposed to COVID, can still develop enough viral load (in spite of their vaccine immunity) to be contagious to others? Or does the vaccine itself cause a viral load in the vaccinated person that makes them contagious to others? Please clarify, I find either scenario quite concerning!

    • Hi Alison, I hope that you’re doing well! It is my understanding that the vaccine itself does not cause you to be contagious to spread to others. There is concern though that even after getting the vaccine and being immune one could potentially develop enough viral load from a positive COVID exposure to potentially pass it onto others if the person that they pass it to is not immune.

  8. Deborah Scheiber January 23, 2021 at 8:05 am · Reply

    If one has already had Covid-19 don’t they have the antibodies to prevent contracting the disease?

  9. Helen J Nudelman January 26, 2021 at 11:19 am · Reply

    I’m 68 years old and would like to know when I can schedule my vaccine.

  10. I am 83 and the sole caregiver at home for my totally blind husband(78) who has chronic leukemia. Where can i make an appointment for the covid-19 vaccine for both of us.?

  11. I’m anxious to get the vaccine asap

  12. If you are considered High risk (i.e.: Diabetes, cancer survivor, etc..), but are under 65, why can’t you get the vaccine? Instead, as I have been told, you are put in the same category as those under 65 with no symptoms and must wait your turn per CDC age guidelines. I know it doesn’t seem fair but how does one go about changing the situation when there is no direct line to anyone with authority to plead your case in order to make the exception? Maybe doctor recommendations?

  13. “In studies surrounding the approved vaccine It is possible those vaccinated could continue to spread the virus …”
    I would like to read more about this. Links to the studies please?

  14. I am 81 years old. My time to take the
    covid-19 vaccine is now! What am I waiting for? I have type 2 diabetes and hypertension. When will I receive my code and take the Covid-19 vaccine? Thank you. 2/5/21

  15. I have CAEBV, CFS/ME, and many autoimmune diseases. I am about to turn 73 yo. Is it safe for me to get the vaccine now given my current health situation. I’ve been deathly ill for almost 18 months. I don’t want to be at risk yet usually you do not get vaccines if you are currently ill. I need help answering my situation.

  16. Hi,
    there have been several patients now whom have received the covid vaccine and contracted covid. They deny any covid exposure but are confirmed positives.
    How is this possible if the vaccine does not cause covid and is meant to protect from getting covid?
    Thank you

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About the Author

Dr. Robert Citronberg
Dr. Robert Citronberg

Dr. Robert Citronberg is Executive Medical Director of Infectious Disease and Prevention for Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care.