Vaccine vials arranged in a pattern on a blue background

As we’ve seen throughout the pandemic, there is conflicting information about the coronavirus—and now the COVID-19 vaccine—online. At Memorial Hermann, our priority is your health and safety. Here are five common myths about the vaccine that you should know the truth about.

MYTH: The COVID-19 vaccine isn't safe because it was rushed.

Though fast-tracked, the two leading contenders—vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech SE—have been thoroughly vetted as safe and effective by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Each vaccine graduated from the lab to small groups of volunteers to large scale nationwide trials of tens of thousands.

The United Kingdom already has launched its Pfizer vaccination program.

MYTH: When I get the vaccine, I'm given a small dose of COVID-19.

You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccines. Unlike flu, measles, polio and other traditional vaccines, neither of these COVID-19 vaccines uses a live or inactive virus to enable cells to detect the enemy.

Instead, they use an advanced approach called mRNA. Lab-engineered molecular couriers deliver a COVID-19 gene directly to cells. This enables the body’s internal army—its immune response—to recognize and destroy the coronavirus should it attempt to invade.

Vaccines will help your immune system be ready to fight if you’re exposed to the virus.

MYTH: The COVID-19 vaccine will be mandatory.

Vaccination is voluntary. Medical experts believe that getting a COVID-19 vaccine may help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19.

You also may protect the health of your family and loved ones.

Moderna reports its vaccine to be 94 percent effective, and Pfizer/BioNTech SE reports 95 percent effectiveness against symptomatic COVID-19. As with all vaccines, discuss any concerns or questions with your healthcare provider.

MYTH: Once I get the vaccine, I can stop wearing masks.

You should continue the three w’s—wearing masks, watching your distance and washing your hands regularly and thoroughly. Once vaccinated, it will take a few weeks for your body to develop a robust immune response. Also, until the vaccine is more widely available—and we gain community control—these measures are helpful to keep people well.

Together, these steps and vaccination will best protect you and reduce the surge in COVID-19 cases.

MYTH: Previously COVID-19 positive patients don't need the vaccine.

Having been diagnosed with COVID-19 does not guarantee lasting immunity. That’s why it’s vital COVID-positive people be vaccinated. COVID-19 vaccination helps protect you by creating an antibody response without having to experience sickness.

Learn more about COVID and the COVID-19 vaccine »

The information in this article was accurate as of December 11, 2020.

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