COVID-19 Vaccine Safety: Facts & Myths 

Vaccines are the strongest tool we have to end the COVID-19 pandemic.  While all three FDA-approved vaccines are safe, effective and free – you may still have some questions or mixed feelings. When deciding whether to get vaccinated, it’s important to separate myths from facts.  

What We Know

Vaccines have a long history of being safe and effective. Right now, CCHS is administering two authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines: Pfizer and Moderna. These vaccines have been thoroughly reviewed for their safety and have been proven to be highly effective at preventing COVID-19.

Getting Accurate Information

  • Millions of people around the world have been safely vaccinated.

  • Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)

    • The vaccines are approved with an EUA from the FDA.

  • mRNA

    • Messenger RNA (mRNA) is new technology, but not unknown. It’s been studied for more than a decade.

    • mRNA from the vaccine does not affect or interact with a person’s DNA.

    • mRNA vaccines do not contain a live virus and do not carry a risk of causing disease.


Debunking Vaccine Myths:
How to Respond

There is a lot of misinformation surrounding vaccines. How should you respond?

  • Start from a place of empathy and understanding. Withhold judgement.

  • Listen to and respond to questions from the community.

  • Address misinformation by sharing key facts.

  • Encourage people to use credible sources of information such as the CDC and scientific institutions.

  • Emphasize what we know and acknowledge what we do not know.

What They Do

Vaccines teach your body how to fight COVID-19.

  • The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use messenger RNA (mRNA) to teach your cells to produce antibodies to protect you from COVID. Both vaccines require two doses.

  • The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is called a “viral vector vaccine.” It uses a modified version of a different and harmless virus to deliver important instructions to our cells to fight infections. At the end of the process, our bodies learn how to protect us against future infection

What They Don’t Do

  • The vaccines do not give you COVID-19.

  • The mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) do not contain live viruses.

  • The Johnson & Johnson vaccine does not contain the virus that causes COVID-19. It uses a virus that does not cause illness in humans and can only replicate for a short time before being destroyed by your immune system.

Side Effects

Some people may experience side effects after getting a vaccine. This is a sign your body is building protection against COVID-19 and symptoms should go away within a few days.

  • Common side effects include: fatigue, body chills, body aches, fever, sore arm, or swelling on your arm where you got the shot.

  • These side effects can happen with any vaccine, not just COVID.

  • Some people report more intense side effects following the second dose of the vaccine.

  • Helpful Tips:

    • It’s not recommended to take any medication before your vaccination.

    • Talk to your doctor about taking over-the-counter medicine, such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, or antihistamines, for any pain and discomfort you may experience after getting vaccinated. 

    • Drink plenty of water.

    • Bring your mask and ID.

We Have More to Learn

COVID-19 vaccine studies are ongoing; however, the vaccines have been thoroughly reviewed for their safety. Current data shows the vaccines are all incredibly effective at preventing severe disease and death. But, there is still more we need to learn:

  • Will the vaccines provide lifetime protection (like a measles vaccine) or temporary protection (like the flu vaccine) that will require booster shots?

  • How well do the vaccines prevent immunized people from transmitting COVID-19?

While these are important questions that require more research, they’re not reasons to delay distributing safe and effective vaccines to our community.​