Little did we know last March that we were embarking on a year-long roller coaster of major life adjustments. We have dealt with cancelled events, separation from loved ones, work-from-home and childcare challenges, and the new normal of wearing masks. But thanks to the scientists and researchers who have been working diligently toward the development of a vaccine, we can now see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.
Starting in February of 2021, the state of Utah made the COVID-19 vaccine available to health care workers, K-12 teachers and school staff, first responders, residents 50 and older, and anyone 16 years or older with certain health conditions. By July, the vaccine should be available to all Utahns.
Some people are concerned about getting the vaccine and wonder if it is safe. According to Center for Disease Control, strict processes and procedures are followed to ensure the safety of any vaccine that is approved for use, and the COVID-19 vaccines are no exception. Below are some common myths about the COVID-19 vaccines, and the facts to help you make an educated, informed decision.
Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine can make me sick with COVID-19.
Fact: None of the authorized vaccines contain the live virus, and therefore cannot infect you with COVID-19. The vaccines simply teach your immune system to develop antibodies that can fight the virus that causes COVID-19. This process can cause symptoms such as fever, but this simply means that your body is building the protection it needs.
Myth: After getting the vaccine, I can still test positive for COVID-19.
Fact: None of the authorized or recommended vaccines can cause you to test positive on a viral test. There is a small chance that you could test positive on some antibody tests, but you will not test positive for COVID-19.
Myth: If I have had COVID-19 and recovered, I don’t need to be vaccinated.
Fact: You should be vaccinated regardless of whether you have previously contracted COVID-19 or not. Currently, experts don’t know how long your immunity will last from a prior infection. Becoming reinfected with COVID-19 brings with it a myriad of health risks to you and your loved ones.
Myth: I am in a low-risk group, so becoming infected with COVID-19 is a safe way to build my immunity.
Fact: COVID-19 can have serious, life threatening complications. There is no way to predict how it will affect you. Getting the vaccine is a much safer way to build immunity and will prevent you from spreading it to others.
Myth: A COVID-19 vaccine will alter my DNA.
Fact: The COVID-19 vaccines do not change or even interact with your DNA. The vaccines do not enter the nucleus of the cell (where the DNA lives), but rather teach the cells how to make a protein that triggers the proper immune response. This immune response produces antibodies that will protect you if the virus enters your body.
Myth: Getting the COVID-19 vaccine can affect my ability to have a baby in the future.
Fact: There is currently no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines increase fertility risk or cause any problems with pregnancy. As with all vaccines, scientists will continue to carefully study the long-term risks and side effects as time goes on.
For more information about when, where, and how to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Utah, please visit https://coronavirus.utah.gov/.