Myths vs. Facts

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Common Covid-19 Vaccine Questions & Answers:

There are still a lot of myths and misinformation around COVID-19 and the COVID-19 vaccines. It is important that we get our information from reliable resources as we manage our lives through this trying time. In the list below, we converted some of the CDC’s guidance into commonly asked questions and answers.

Additional information can be found at the following CDC links:

Are COVID-19 vaccines safe?

Yes. COVID-19 vaccines were developed using science that has been around for decades. COVID-19 vaccines are not experimental. They went through all the required stages of clinical trials. Extensive testing and monitoring have shown that these vaccines are safe and effective. COVID-19 vaccines have received and continue to undergo the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. Learn more about how federal partners are ensuring COVID-19 vaccines work.

Do COVID-19 vaccines work?

Yes. COVID 19-vaccines are effective. They can keep you from getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Learn more about the different COVID-19 vaccines. COVID-19 vaccines also help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19. Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you, particularly people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

When can I get a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot?

It varies. The CDC recommends that everyone 16 years and older receive a COVID-19 booster dose, but the timeframe will differ based on the original vaccine series you took. For those who received Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine, the CDC advises you to get your booster shot 2 months after you are fully vaccinated. Those who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine are encouraged to get their booster shot 6 months after being fully vaccinated.

According to the CDC, it is fine to get a different booster dose product than your original vaccine. For example, if you were fully vaccinated with Johnson & Johnson, you can get the Pfizer or Moderna booster shot. Booster doses do not need to be repeated.

Will a COVID-19 vaccine alter my DNA?

No. COVID-19 vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way. The COVID-19 vaccines deliver instructions to our cells to start building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. However, the  material never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept.

Do COVID-19 vaccines contain microchips?

No. COVID-19 vaccines do not contain microchips. Vaccines are developed to fight against disease and are not administered to track your movement. Vaccines work by stimulating your immune system to produce antibodies, exactly like it would if you were exposed to the disease. After getting vaccinated, you develop immunity to that disease, without having to get the disease first.

If I already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated?

Yes, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19 because:

  • Research has not yet shown how long you are protected from getting COVID-19 again after you recover from COVID-19.
  • Vaccination helps protect you even if you’ve already had COVID-19.

Evidence is emerging that people get better protection by being fully vaccinated compared with having had COVID-19.

Can I get vaccinated against COVID-19 while I am currently sick with COVID-19?

No. People with COVID-19 who have symptoms should wait to be vaccinated until they have recovered from their illness and have met the criteria for discontinuing isolation; those without symptoms should also wait until they meet the criteria before getting vaccinated. This guidance also applies to people who get COVID-19 before getting their second dose of vaccine.

People who have had a known COVID-19 exposure should not seek vaccination until their quarantine period has ended to avoid potentially exposing healthcare personnel and others during the vaccination visit. This recommendation also applies to people with a known COVID-19 exposure who have received their first dose of an mRNA vaccine but not their second.

Do I need to wear a mask and avoid close contact with others if I am fully vaccinated?

After you are fully vaccinated for COVID-19, take these steps to protect yourself and others:

If I am pregnant or planning to become pregnant, can I get a COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes, COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all people 12 years and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future. You might want to have a conversation with your healthcare provider about COVID-19 vaccination. While such a conversation might be helpful, it is not required before vaccination. Learn more about vaccination considerations for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

If you are pregnant and have received a COVID-19 vaccine, we encourage you to enroll in v-safe, CDC’s smartphone-based tool that provides personalized health check-ins after vaccination. A v-safe pregnancy registry has been established to gather information on the health of pregnant people who have received a COVID-19 vaccine.

Should my child get vaccinated against COVID-19?

Yes. Vaccination is now recommended for everyone five (5) years and older. COVID-19 vaccination can help protect your child from getting COVID-19. Although fewer children have been sick with COVID-19 compared to adults, children can be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, can get sick from COVID-19, and can spread the virus that causes COVID-19 to others. Getting your child vaccinated helps to protect your child and your family. Currently, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine is the only one available to children ages 5 to 18.

Can a COVID-19 vaccine make me sick with COVID-19?

No. None of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19.

COVID-19 vaccines teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Sometimes this process can cause symptoms, such as fever. These symptoms are normal and are signs that the body is building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work.

Will getting a COVID-19 vaccine cause me to test positive for COVID-19?

No. None of the authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you have a current infection.

If your body develops an immune response to vaccination, which is the goal, you may test positive on some antibody tests. Antibody tests indicate you had a previous infection and that you may have some level of protection against the virus.

How long after a COVID-19 vaccination does it take to become fully vaccinated?

People are not considered fully vaccinated until 2 weeks after their second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, or 2 weeks after a single-dose of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. You should keep using all the tools available to protect yourself and others until you are fully vaccinated.

Once I get the COVID-19 vaccination, how long does my immunity to COVID-19 last?

There is still a lot we are learning about COVID-19 vaccines and CDC is constantly reviewing evidence and updating guidance. We don’t know how long protection lasts for those who are vaccinated.

What we do know is that COVID-19 has caused very serious illness and death for a lot of people. If you get COVID-19, you also risk giving it to loved ones who may get very sick. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is a safer choice.

What is a variant?

Viruses are constantly changing or mutating, and sometimes these mutations result in a new variant of the virus. Variants can emerge and then disappear, or they can persist. It is important to take measures, specifically getting a COVID-19 vaccine, to reduce the spread of infection, and to slow the emergence of new variants.

The most recent variant, Omicron, emerged late November 2021 and cases have been confirmed in the US since December 2021. The Delta variant, however, continues to be the main variant circulating in the US at this time.

Is the Omicron variant more contagious and deadly than the other COVID-19 variants?

The Omicron variant is still being studied.  The CDC notes that it appears to spread more easily than the main COVID-19 virus, but are unsure if it spreads more easily than the Delta variant. Scientists are still gathering more data to determine if Omicron infections cause more severe illness or death than other COVID-19 infections.

Am I protected against Omicron and other variants if I am vaccinated?

The current COVID-19 vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to infection with the Omicron variant. However, there have been several “breakthrough infections” reported in people who are fully vaccinated. In the case of other variants, like Delta, vaccines have remained effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and death.

How do I protect myself against COVID-19 and its variants (i.e., Omicron, Delta)?

  1. Get vaccinated: Vaccines remain the best way to protect the public from COVID-19, slow its transmission, and reduce the likelihood of new variants emerging. COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and death. The CDC recommends full vaccinations for everyone 5 years and older.
  2. Get a booster shot: If you are fully vaccinated, the CDC recommends that everyone 16 years and older get a booster shot two months after the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or six months after the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
  3. Wear a mask: The CDC continues to recommend wearing a mask in public indoor settings or in high traffic areas. Masks offer protection against all variants.
  4. Get Tested: Protect yourself and others by getting tested for COVID-19. Fort Bend County residents who require COVID-19 testing are encouraged to call (281) 633-7795 to make an appointment or call the Vaccination Hotline (832) 471-1373 for questions.