Two COVID-19 vaccines have arrived in Tennessee, and the Tennessee Department of Health is helping to combat misinformation about them. Below are some common myths you may have seen circulating on social media or heard from a friend or family member.
1. Fiction: The government is mandating that everyone receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
Fact: The vaccine is not mandated in Tennessee. The state strongly recommends that Tennesseans who are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine get the vaccine, though we all have the right to choose.
2. Fiction: The COVID-19 vaccines are not safe because they were rapidly developed and tested.
Fact: All COVID-19 vaccines go through the same careful process as every other vaccine. Both the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines were found to be safe during research studies with no serious events among tens of thousands of volunteers who received the vaccines. The vaccine will also continue to be monitored to make sure that any rare problems are found as soon as possible and evaluated to see if they were caused by the vaccine.
3. Fiction: There are severe side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines.
Fact: The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are safe. There are short-term mild or moderate reactions that resolve without complication. Very rarely, there have been people who received the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine who had severe allergic reactions.
4. Fiction: More people will die as a result of a negative side effect from the COVID-19 vaccines than would actually die from the virus.
Fact: While some people who receive a COVID-19 vaccine may develop soreness or fatigue as their immune system responds, remember that this is common when receiving any vaccine and is not considered serious or life-threatening. You cannot get COVID-19 infection from the COVID-19 vaccines; they are inactivated vaccines and not live vaccines.
5. Fiction: The COVID-19 vaccines include the live virus and will cause you to get COVID-19.
Fact: It is not possible to get COVID-19 from the vaccines. The vaccines do not contain the virus.
6. Fiction: The COVID-19 vaccine was developed to control the general public through microchip tracking.
Fact: There is no vaccine "microchip." The vaccine will not track people or gather personal information for a database.
7. Fiction: The COVID-19 vaccines were developed using fetal tissue.
Fact: No vaccines are developed using fetal tissue. Some vaccines are developed using cell cultures but current mRNA COVID-19 vaccines were not developed in that way.
8. Fiction: The government is issuing a card to prove someone has received a vaccine, which will exempt people from mask and distancing requirements.
Fact: There is no card given to verify who receives the vaccine. A reminder appointment card with vaccine information is given to people when they receive the first dose to let them know which vaccine they received and when they get their second dose.
9. Fiction: The COVID-19 vaccine can cause infertility in women.
Fact: There is no information to support this claim and no reason why the vaccines would cause infertility.
10. Fiction: The COVID-19 vaccine will alter my DNA.
Fact: The current COVID-19 vaccines are messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines. mRNA is not able to change a person's genetic makeup. The COVID-19 vaccines give a "recipe" to the body that is used for a short time to make a protein that is found on the virus that causes COVID-19. The body sees that protein that doesn't belong, makes antibodies to the protein, and when the body someday sees the virus it remembers the protein and knows to destroy it.
— Compiled by Allison Collins