Fact check: 7 myths about COVID-19 vaccines

Myth: I had COVID-19, so I don’t need the vaccine.

Fact: With natural infection, there is a level of uncertainty on how the antibodies will respond, and immunity is really specific to that particular variant. On the other hand, we do know that the vaccine is very protective for most variants. In most people, getting vaccinated generates a lot of antibodies.

Myth: The vaccine will expose me to the virus and could allow me to spreadit to other people.

Fact: mRNA and vector-based vaccines do not contain COVID-19, living or dead. They won't give you COVID-19 or cause you to shed the virus to others.

Myth: I’m young, healthy, and there’s a 99% survival rate — I don’tneed the vaccine.

Fact: The way people respond to COVID-19 is unpredictable, and this includes those who don’t knowingly have high-risk conditions. Getting vaccinated protects not only you, but also those who are close to you and people who aren’t able to get vaccinated.

Fact: Survival rates don’t give the full picture. Just because someone didn’t die from COVID-19 doesn’t mean they won’t be impacted long-term orwon’t spread it to someone who will become severely ill or die. The vaccine is like a seatbelt. You don’t think you are going to be in an accident, but it’s worth wearing so you have protection just in case.

Myth: Testing for the COVID-19 vaccine wasn’t diverse.

Fact: Trials began with small groups before expanding to much larger numbers (tens of thousands), making sure to include a wide range of people. This included people of different ages, races, sexes, and health conditions, including HIV, diabetes and lung disease.

Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine will make me infertile.

Fact: There is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine would reduce your natural fertility or harm the placenta or fetus. Existing safety data and published research tell us that COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are safe before and during pregnancy.

In fact, people who are vaccinated while pregnant make antibodies that are passed on to the baby, providing some protection against COVID-19for the newborn.

Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine has severe side effects.

Fact: All medical treatments have some degree of risk. For vaccines, that risk is typically small, and many vaccineshave mild side effects. With the COVID-19 vaccine, side effects typically occur within two days and are completely over within seven days.

It’s important to know that risks reported in connection with the COVID-19 vaccine are significantly lower — and less severe — than the risks associated with contracting COVID-19 itself.

Myth: There’s still a chance of getting COVID-19 after the vaccine, so there’s no point in getting vaccinated.

Fact: No vaccination is 100% effective.

However, your chances of getting COVID-19 are much lower after vaccination, and you are much less likely to be seriously ill or have complications after vaccination. This is because your immune system is primed and ready to fight off the virus before it can cause a lot of damage.

Myth: I had COVID-19, so I don’t need the vaccine.

Fact: With natural infection, there is a level of uncertainty on how the antibodies will respond, and immunity is really specific to that particular variant. On the other hand, we do know that the vaccine is very protective for most variants. In most people, getting vaccinated generates a lot of antibodies.

Myth: The vaccine will expose me to the virus and could allow me to spreadit to other people.

Fact: mRNA and vector-based vaccines do not contain COVID-19, living or dead. They won't give you COVID-19 or cause you to shed the virus to others.

Myth: I’m young, healthy, and there’s a 99% survival rate — I don’tneed the vaccine.

Fact: The way people respond to COVID-19 is unpredictable, and this includes those who don’t knowingly have high-risk conditions. Getting vaccinated protects not only you, but also those who are close to you and people who aren’t able to get vaccinated.

Fact: Survival rates don’t give the full picture. Just because someone didn’t die from COVID-19 doesn’t mean they won’t be impacted long-term orwon’t spread it to someone who will become severely ill or die. The vaccine is like a seatbelt. You don’t think you are going to be in an accident, but it’s worth wearing so you have protection just in case.

Myth: Testing for the COVID-19 vaccine wasn’t diverse.

Fact: Trials began with small groups before expanding to much larger numbers (tens of thousands), making sure to include a wide range of people. This included people of different ages, races, sexes, and health conditions, including HIV, diabetes and lung disease.

Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine will make me infertile.

Fact: There is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine would reduce your natural fertility or harm the placenta or fetus. Existing safety data and published research tell us that COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are safe before and during pregnancy.

In fact, people who are vaccinated while pregnant make antibodies that are passed on to the baby, providing some protection against COVID-19for the newborn.

Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine has severe side effects.

Fact: All medical treatments have some degree of risk. For vaccines, that risk is typically small, and many vaccineshave mild side effects. With the COVID-19 vaccine, side effects typically occur within two days and are completely over within seven days.

It’s important to know that risks reported in connection with the COVID-19 vaccine are significantly lower — and less severe — than the risks associated with contracting COVID-19 itself.

Myth: There’s still a chance of getting COVID-19 after the vaccine, so there’s no point in getting vaccinated.

Fact: No vaccination is 100% effective.

However, your chances of getting COVID-19 are much lower after vaccination, and you are much less likely to be seriously ill or have complications after vaccination. This is because your immune system is primed and ready to fight off the virus before it can cause a lot of damage.

Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine.

COVID-19 vaccination record card with vaccine viles and needle

Get Your COVID-19 Vaccine

Vaccines keep you and your family safe and are the most effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Call 773-834-8221 to schedule your vaccine appointment today at UChicago Medicine.

Get the latest updates on COVID-19 vaccination at UChicago Medicine
Emily Landon, MD

Emily Landon, MD

Dr. Emily Landon specializes in infectious disease, and serves as Executive Medical Director for infection prevention and control.

Learn more about Dr. Landon.