As we continue to see the rise in COVID-19 cases across the country, it’s more important than ever to get vaccinated. HealthLinc remains on the frontlines in the battle against COVID-19 and provides COVID-19 vaccines and tests to all community members.

As we continue to help stop the spread of COVID-19, we want to address some of the most common concerns, misconceptions and false information surrounding the vaccine.

Myth: The vaccine is the reason new variants of COVID-19 are spreading.

Fact: Variants of the COVID-19 virus, including the Delta variant, were identified long before the vaccine was available. It is common for viruses of all kinds to change through mutations. These mutations lead to new forms – or variants – of the virus. When a virus cannot spread, it limits the opportunity for mutations to happen and slows or even prevents new variants from forming. This is why getting vaccinated is so important in stopping the spread of COVID-19.

Myth: The COVID-19 vaccines were developed too quickly to be safe.

Fact: The virus that causes the COVID-19 infection belongs to a family of viruses called coronavirus. Vaccines have been in development against coronavirus for the past twenty years. Information gathered while researching those vaccines and others were used to develop the COVID-19 vaccines.

The COVID-19 vaccine was developed the same way that many of our modern-day vaccines were developed. This process includes multiple stages of development, including in-depth information gathering, testing and trials. No steps were skipped when developing and testing the COVID-19 vaccine.

Financial support from the federal government and the public’s interest in volunteering for vaccine trials helped the apparent speed of COVID-19 vaccine development. To date, more than 171 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the United States. This number, and the widespread positive response from those who have been vaccinated, shows how extremely safe COVID-19 vaccines are. We can be sure that the risks of becoming infected with COVID-19 are much greater than any risk from a vaccine.

Myth: I already had COVID-19, so I don’t need to get vaccinated.

Fact: We know that getting sick with and recovering from COVID-19 provides you with a degree of immunity against the virus, but experts do not know how long that natural immunity will last. There is emerging evidence that vaccinated people get better protection against COVID-19 than those who recovered from the virus and are not vaccinated.

Myth: Getting the vaccine will cause me to get COVID-19.

Fact: None of the FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines administered in the United States contain the live COVID-19 virus. Instead, the vaccines introduce safe genetic material that helps to teach your body how to build protection against COVID-19. Once your immune system has built up an immunity to COVID-19, your body destroys the genetic material from the vaccine, and you are left with the antibodies your immune system created.

Myth: Getting the COVID-19 vaccine will change my DNA.

Fact: While COVID-19 vaccines introduce genetic material that helps your body create immunity against the virus, it does not interact with or change your DNA. The mRNA material from these vaccines enters your cells but never reaches the nucleus, where your DNA is stored.

There are two categories of COVID-19 vaccines offered in the United States: mRNA vaccines and viral vector vaccines. The Moderna and Comirnaty (formally known as Pfizer) vaccines are mRNA vaccines, and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a viral vector vaccine.

The mRNA vaccines work by delivering “instructions” – the mRNA material – into the cells. This material teaches our bodies how to make a protein that will trigger an immune response. This immune response produces antibodies that protect us from getting sick if the virus enters our body.

Viral vector vaccines work in a similar way. A modified version of a harmless virus that is not COVID-19 enters a cell in your body and uses it to produce a harmless piece of the COVID-19-causing virus. This piece is called a spike protein. Your cell will display this spike protein so that your immune system will recognize that it doesn’t belong and begin to build protection.

Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine causes fertility issues and miscarriages in women.

Fact: There is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility or miscarriage in women. Studies have shown no difference in pregnancy rates between vaccinated and unvaccinated women. Pregnancy is a risk factor for severe illness caused by COVID-19, so women who are pregnant should receive the vaccination for a better outcome for themselves and their babies.

For men, there have been no significant changes in sperm counts or quality following vaccination. No matter where you are at in the family planning and building process, it is recommended that you receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Myth: I am a young and healthy individual and have no risk factors, so if I do get COVID-19, it will be no big deal.

Truth: Young people and those without risk can have serious outcomes because of COVID-19. Even if you do not end up in the hospital, some people have lingering side effects, such as heart problems, fuzzy thinking, fatigue, muscle aches and pains or loss of taste and smell. These symptoms can still be present months after you have recovered.

Myth: Getting the COVID-19 vaccine will cause me to become magnetic.

Fact: Each of the FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines administered in the United States are 100% free from metals. None of the ingredients in the vaccines can cause the injection site – or any part of your body – to become magnetic. You can find ingredient lists for each of the vaccines on the CDC’s website.