Your COVID-19 Questions Answered. VA is listening to your questions about the COVID-19 vaccine and hosting a blog series on questions from Veterans. Tell us what you think.
I heard that the COVID-19 vaccine contains the live virus, and that I can get COVID-19 from the shot. Is that true?
The COVID-19 vaccine cannot give you a COVID-19 infection because none of the authorized vaccines in the United States contain the live virus. The CDC explains that these vaccines are designed to teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight COVID-19, which can sometimes result in symptoms like fever.
These symptoms are normal and a sign that the body is protecting itself, not a sign of a COVID-19 infection. The COVID-19 vaccine needs time to fully protect you from COVID-19, however, so it is possible to become infected elsewhere before you are fully vaccinated.
Be sure to protect yourself with good health habits even after you have received the COVID-19 vaccine.
I heard that the COVID-19 vaccine will affect my DNA. Is that true?
COVID-19 vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way. According to the CDC, there are two types of vaccines authorized for use in the United States: messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines and viral vector vaccines.
mRNA vaccines, like Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, teach our cells how to make proteins to defend against COVID-19. The mRNA from the vaccine does not enter the nucleus of the cell, where the DNA is stored, so it does not affect DNA.
Viral vector vaccines, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine, use a different, harmless virus to teach our cells how to recognize and protect against COVID-19. The information these vaccines share does not affect DNA. Both types of COVID-19 vaccines teach our bodies how to protect themselves from COVID-19, but neither of them changes or interacts with DNA in any way.
I heard that after getting the COVID-19 vaccine, I’ll test positive on a COVID test. Is that true?
The COVID-19 vaccine will not cause you to test positive on a viral COVID-19 test, which is a test for current COVID-19 infection. It is possible, however, that the COVID-19 vaccine could cause you to test positive on a COVID-19 antibody test.
Antibody tests can show whether you had a previous infection or vaccination, and a positive test means that you may have some level of protection from COVID-19. Experts are studying how receiving the COVID-19 vaccine affects antibody testing results.
Information from the CDC
Keep an eye out for more answers to your COVID-19 and vaccine questions and remember to follow good health habits in the meantime. To keep it simple, follow the three W’s: wear your masks, wash your hands and watch your distance from others!
To learn more, you can review CDC information about COVID-19 and vaccination.