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COVID-19: Vaccine Facts

It’s okay to have questions about COVID-19 vaccines. There are a lot of different messages being shared about COVID-19 vaccines in the news and on social media. With so much information out there, it can be difficult to know which sources of information you can trust.

This page shares facts, based on scientific evidence, that address common vaccine myths, and provides tips for finding credible information that you can trust.

 Have questions? Contact your doctor or health care provider for information on COVID-19 vaccines.


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There is currently no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines cause fertility problems in women or men. Millions of people have gotten the COVID-19 vaccine and thousands have safely given birth or become pregnant after being vaccinated. Reports claiming that COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility are unfounded and have no scientific evidence supporting them.

Additionally, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists are strongly urging anyone planning to become pregnant to be vaccinated against COVID-19. One study that compared male’s sperm activity before and after the receiving the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine found that sperm characteristics, such count and movement, do not change after vaccination. Professional societies for male reproduction recommend that men who want to have children get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Learn about studies and the science on the DHS COVID-19 vaccines, fertility, and pregnancy webpage

Illustration of a baby in utero
Studies show that people who received the COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant are not at an increased risk of having a miscarriage. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant protects you from severe disease and may help protect your baby from future infection. In fact, COVID-19 vaccination among pregnant people is associated with about 60% reduced risk of COVID-19 hospitalization in babies younger than 6 months old. The CDC, American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend that eligible individuals get vaccinated, even while pregnant.

Learn about studies and the science on the DHS COVID-19 vaccines, fertility, and pregnancy webpage.


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None of the COVID-19 vaccines will cause you to become sick with COVID-19 or test positive on a viral test (PCR or antigen). None of the COVID-19 vaccines available in the U.S. contain the live virus that causes COVID-19, so they cannot give you COVID-19. Some people have common side effects (like a sore arm or tiredness) a few days after vaccination. This is normal and means you are developing protection against COVID-19.

Learn how COVID-19 vaccines work.

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During a public health emergency, like a pandemic, the FDA can issue Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for a vaccine or drug if there is enough evidence showing that individuals benefit from the treatment. The FDA issued EUA’s for the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines after substantial evidence was collected from clinical trials showing that the vaccines were safe and reduced the risk of severe illness from COVID-19 infection. The FDA has formally issued full approval for the Moderna (also called Spikevax) vaccine for people ages 18 years and older and the Pfizer-BioNTech (also called Comirnaty) vaccine for people ages 16 and older.

All available COVID-19 vaccines were evaluated in thousands of people who participated in clinical trials before the vaccines became available. Two months of safety and efficacy data was required before any of the vaccines were granted EUA. The COVID-19 vaccines have gone through the same safety tests as every other vaccine in the U.S. and continue to be closely monitored for safety

Learn more about vaccine safety.

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COVID-19 vaccines do not interact with, or change, your DNA in any way. COVID-19 vaccines deliver instructions to our cells to help build protection against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. There are currently two types of COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States: mRNA (Moderna and Pfizer) and viral vector (Johnson & Johnson) vaccines. The genetic material used by both types of vaccines never enters the part of the cell, the nucleus, where DNA is kept. In fact, the mRNA and viral vector are quickly broken down by the cell after delivering instructions to build protection against COVID-19.

Learn how mRNA and viral vector COVID-19 vaccines work.

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COVID-19 vaccines were developed to help your body fight against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. They do not contain fetal cells, blood products, the live SARS-CoV-2 virus, mercury, egg, latex, pork products, preservatives, or microchips.

See full lists of ingredients for the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines.

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Although the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are the first authorized vaccines to use mRNA technology, the technology used to develop the mRNA vaccines has been studied by researchers since the 1970s. The mRNA vaccines are held to the same safety and effectiveness standards as all other vaccines in the United States.

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COVID-19 vaccines do not contain any ingredients that produce an electromagnetic field at the site of your injection. None of the COVID-19 vaccines contain metal.

See full lists of ingredients for the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines.

Illustration of coronavirus and shield
No vaccine is 100% effective. Therefore, we can expect some people who are fully vaccinated to get COVID-19. The COVID-19 vaccines are extremely effective at preventing serious illness, hospitalization, and death caused by COVID-19. People who are not fully vaccinated are much more likely to get severely sick from COVID-19 than people who are fully vaccinated.

View data about illness after vaccination.

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People who survive COVID-19 may develop some immunity against future COVID-19 illness, but the amount and strength of that protection is uncertain. More than 90 published reports and studies on COVID-19 immunity demonstrate that the COVID-19 vaccine provides higher, more robust, and more consistent level of protection against COVID-19 compared to the protection that may be gained from a COVID-19 infection. The CDC recommends that people who are not fully vaccinated that were previously infected with COVID-19 get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Illustration of vaccine with an arrow and a corona virus
The COVID-19 vaccines available in the U.S. do not contain a live virus. Therefore, they do not shed, or release, any vaccine components in or outside of your body. However, you can shed, or spread, the virus that causes COVID-19 if you become infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

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VAERS is an early warning system used to monitor adverse events that happen after vaccination. VAERS allows health and safety experts to assess possible vaccine safety concerns when someone submits a VAERS report. Some VAERS reports may contain information that is incomplete, inaccurate, coincidental, or unverifiable because the information is self-reported. Reports of adverse events to VAERS following vaccination do not necessarily mean that a vaccine caused a health problem. The VAERS safety system is very effective at identifying even the rarest of safety trends associated with vaccines.

Illustration of a coronavirus with a syringe
COVID-19 vaccines do not cause new variants of SARS-CoV-2. In fact, vaccination is the best tool we have to prevent future variants from forming. When a virus spreads quickly to multiple people, it gives the virus more chances to mutate, leading to new variants. Vaccines reduce a virus's ability to infect people, which gives the virus less opportunities to change over time and develop new variants.

Vaccines still provide protection against current variants since many of the characteristics of the virus remain the same. When more people get vaccinated against COVID-19, we give the virus less opportunity to keep mutating.

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COVID-19 vaccines may not be recommended for individuals who:

  1. Experienced a severe allergic reaction after a previous dose or to a component of that specific COVID-19 vaccine.
  • An allergic reaction is considered severe when a person needs to be treated with epinephrine or EpiPen© or if the person must go to the hospital. Experts refer to severe allergic reactions as anaphylaxis.
  • An immediate allergic reaction happens within 4 hours after getting vaccinated and could include symptoms such as hives, swelling, and wheezing (respiratory distress).
  • Sometimes vomiting, diarrhea, or dizziness is a normal response to vaccination, and does not necessarily mean that you had an allergic reaction. A sore arm, headache, and fever are common after vaccination and are indicators that the vaccine is working. If you are unsure whether you had an allergic reaction, talk to a health care provider. You can also call 211 for help finding health care resources in your community
  1. Have a known diagnosed allergy to a component of the COVID-19 vaccine, like Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) or Polysorbate.
    • See full lists of ingredients for the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines.
    • None of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the U.S. contain eggs, gelatin, latex, or preservatives.
    • Allergic reactions not related to vaccines or injectable therapies, such as allergic reactions related to food, pet, venom, or environmental allergies, or allergies to oral medications, are not a reason to avoid COVID-19 vaccination. The COVID-19 vaccines are safe for you.

If you are allergic to an ingredient in both mRNA vaccines, you may be able to get the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

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There is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines are causing widespread death. Reported incidents of athletes collapsing in public, and most social media posts and videos claiming people have died after a COVID-19 vaccine are false, or misrepresent data from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Investigations into these claims (from respected and established media sources like Reuters and PolitiFact) found that many people in these stories died before COVID-19 vaccines were available, had never gotten a COVID-19 vaccine, or were dealing with other medical conditions.

The only deaths that have been attributed by the COVID-19 vaccine have tragically followed very rare cases of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia (TTS) following vaccination with the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. Nine of the 54 people with TTS died. There has not been a single confirmed death attributable to the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna).

It is much safer to get the vaccine than it is to stay unvaccinated and get infected with COVID-19. Blood clots and myocarditis are far more likely to occur after COVID-19 infection than after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

Finding credible information

There is a lot of information about COVID-19 vaccines online. How do you know the sources are accurate? When doing your own research about COVID-19 vaccines, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does this information come from a credible source?
  • Is this information updated on a regular basis?
  • Do I trust this source?

When in doubt, talk to a trusted health care provider about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Get tips for talking about COVID-19 vaccines

You may want to have a conversation about COVID-19 vaccines with your friends or family, but don’t know where to start. Find tips and examples to have an effective conversation.

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Last revised September 14, 2022