Hope is here with COVID-19 vaccinations — a few myths and facts on the vaccinations

Posted on February 12, 2021   |   
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This blog post was written by Katie Keating, RN, MS, patient advocate and reviewd by the Bronchiectasis and NTM Initiative Content Review and Evaluation Committee

Hope is here with COVID-19 vaccinations — a few myths and facts on the vaccinations

Do you have concerns about getting the COVID-19 vaccination? Many myths, misinformation exist on social media, the news, newspapers. Below are a few of the most common myths and facts for you to ponder.

Myth #1: The vaccine contains harmful ingredients.

Fact: There is no evidence of the vaccine containing harmful ingredients.

"There are no harmful ingredients associated with the COVID-19 vaccines," according to Graham Snyder, MD, MS, Medical Director, Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, in their online health newsletter. "The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are different from traditional vaccines. Instead of containing weakened or inactive portions of the virus, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines contain messenger RNA (mRNA). Using genetic code, these vaccines teach your body how to make select components of the virus, which triggers the immune system to attack and destroy it."

"Although these are the first examples of mRNA vaccines, the technology surrounding mRNA is not new. Data on the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines suggest they are safe, but they will continue to be monitored,"1 writes Snyder.

The COVID-19 vaccine may cause side effects similar to signs and symptoms of COVID-19. If you've been exposed to COVID-19 and you develop symptoms more than three days after getting vaccinated or the symptoms last more than two days, self-isolate and get tested.2

None of the authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines or those currently in development in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19.3

Myth #2: Vaccine allergies are common and severe. Can I be allergic to the COVID-19 vaccine?

Fact: Although it's possible to be allergic to vaccine ingredients, it is uncommon and does not usually cause a severe reaction. (you can learn more here: COVID-19 Vaccines and Allergic Reactions | CDC)

"There have been isolated reports of allergic reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine in the United Kingdom, and scientists are investigating," says UPMC's Snyder. "They appear to happen in people with pre-existing severe allergies that require them to carry the EpiPen®. Vaccine allergies are uncommon, and reactions are not typically severe."

If you've had an immediate allergic reaction to other vaccines or injectable medications, ask your doctor if you should get a COVID-19 vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends not getting the COVID-19 vaccine if you've ever had an immediate allergic reaction to any ingredient in the vaccine. People who are allergic to polysorbate should not get an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

If you have an immediate allergic reaction after getting the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, don't get the second dose.4

If you have underlying allergies and are concerned about the COVID-19 vaccine, talk to your doctor for guidance. Follow this link for a list of the ingredients in the Moderna and Pfizer Vaccinations.

Possible side effects of a COVID-19 vaccine, first or second dose, include pain, redness or swelling where the shot was given, fever, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills and joint pain. Most side effects happen within the first three days after vaccination and typically last only one to two days.

Be advised that within 7 days after the second dose of the currently approved vaccines, a person is still able to become infected with COVID-19 because the vaccination has not had enough time to provide those immunities. It is also important to remember that the current two vaccines approved in the U.S. have a 94-95% efficacy rate, so mask wearing, handwashing, and social distancing is still encouraged by the CDC.

Myth #3 If I receive the COVID-19 vaccine, I cannot be infected with the virus.

Like other COVID-19 preventive measures, getting the vaccine is your choice. However, not getting the vaccine could affect people around you. If you don’t get the vaccine and become infected with the coronavirus, you potentially could spread it to others - including people who have not yet been vaccinated.

"It is each person's choice. We should all pay attention to what's reported about the safety and how well it's working in order to make an informed choice," says UPMC's Snyder. "But there's definitely an advantage to all of us getting the vaccine."

Past data from other diseases, along with early clinical trial date, scientific experts believe that getting vaccinated not only protects you from becoming ill, but protects those around you, including those with an increased risk, from becoming ill with COVID-19.

Bloggers Note: There are many more myths and misinformation about the vaccinations appearing in the media daily. If you are concerned, I would advise to get your information from credible sources such as that of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Yes, uncertainties exist, but it seems the risk of the vaccination outweigh getting sick and ending up in the hospital, especially for bronchiectasis/NTM patients. Talk with your health care provider to see if vaccination is right for you. Keep safe, keep well.


  1. UPMC Health Beat at https://share.upmc.com/2020/12/covid-19-vaccine-myths-facts/
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/coronavirus-vaccine/art-20484859
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/facts.html
  4. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/coronavirus-vaccine/art-20484859