There’s no such thing as a wrong question.
Do you still have questions or concerns about getting the COVID-19 vaccine? You’re not alone seeing as our health care providers hear questions every day.
There is no such thing as a bad question because if you’re asking, then it’s a valid concern. Just make sure that you’re seeking answers from a reliable source.
“I believe that one of the most important things I can do as a physician is to nonjudgmentally acknowledge my patient’s fears as well as validate their right to have an opinion regarding the COVID-19 vaccine,” says Steven Newman, MD, a Bon Secours family medicine physician in Greenville, SC. “I also feel that patients should feel safe and empowered to question the vaccine, its science and safety. Allowing open and free dialogue is the beginning of trust and often is the spark that fuels discussion.”
To help you find answers, we’ve rounded up some of the top questions our providers receive from patients like you. Our docs are here to help you make an informed decision!
Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe?
“Absolutely,” says Dr. Newman, MD. “The COVID-19 vaccine has been extensively researched and has undergone the most vigorous scrutiny of any vaccine developed in U.S. history. Although its creation appears to have been rushed, the technology utilized to bring it to market has been in existence for well over a decade.”
Not only were the COVID-19 vaccines developed following the right processes, but they are also continually monitored.
Dr. Newman adds, “consider also that millions of people have received the vaccine, and ongoing surveillance of its safety and efficacy is a continuous process. This monitoring includes utilizing both established and new systems in order to make sure that the COVID-19 vaccine demonstrates a high standard of safety and efficiency.”
Is the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine safe?
“Very safe,” assures Andrew Rose, MD, family medicine physician.
The concern over the J&J vaccine first arose as extremely rare cases of blood clotting were reported. However, the risk of blood clots from the J&J vaccine is much lower than the risk of blood clots from getting sick with COVID-19. The FDA and CDC are confident that the vaccine’s known and potential benefits outweigh the known and potential risks.
Did you get vaccinated?
Amanda Northern, CNP, a primary care provider, shares, “my entire family, including my immunosuppressed mother, my teenage daughter and my spouse. We have been vaccinated with minimal side effects including being tired and fatigued for a few hours after the second dose.”
Can I still get COVID-19 if I’m vaccinated?
Dr. Newman says yes, this is still possible.
“However, once vaccinated, your risk of contracting COVID-19 if exposed is significantly diminished,” Dr. Newman shares. “In addition, if you’re exposed and do contract the virus, your chances of developing a serious COVID-19-related complication is significantly lowered once vaccinated.”
So, the vaccine does provide additional protection from getting sick. And even if you get sick with COVID-19 after getting vaccinated, you will likely have a milder case with lower chances of any serious issues.
Will the COVID-19 vaccine make me feel sick?
The COVID-19 vaccines cannot make you sick with COVID-19. However, some people experience side effects after getting the shot.
Bethany Cahill, FNP-C, shares, “I generally tell patients that you may feel fatigued for the first day related to an immune response. This is your body‘s way of letting you know that something has changed. It’s a good thing. Symptoms do not usually last long. You may also experience some soreness at the site of injection.”
Bethany adds that a reminder that, “a lot of people all over the world have died who didn’t have a choice to get the vaccine.”
Will the COVID-19 vaccine change my DNA?
Dr. Newman says, “I do my best to reassure patients that these concerns have no truth or validity. The vaccine is well-studied, created with extreme caution and is very safe and effective. Some of the world’s most trusted and intelligent scientists have staked their reputation and professional careers on the success of these vaccines.”
The mRNA vaccines, such as Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech, cannot change your DNA because they simply don’t work that way. Your DNA is in the nucleus of a cell; the messenger RNA from the vaccines cannot enter the nucleus of your cells.
Is the government using the COVID-19 vaccine to track my movements or experiment on people?
There are no electronic parts in the vaccine. You can read the full ingredient lists for yourself on the CDC’s website.
Bethany Cahill recalls, “one patient and I laughed at the fact that the cellphone the patient was using was tracking everything researched and likely tracks movement without the patient even knowing it. So, in the end I’d be more worried about that cellphone than the COVID-19 vaccine.”
When in doubt, ask your provider.
Providers agree they are focused on educating and providing patients with evidence-based, unbiased information.
“I view my role in educating patients as serving as a resource for accurate, truthful and unbiased information as well as offering a trusted perspective on what I think is in their best interest,” Dr. Newman says.
“My role is to be supportive, educate and guide,” Dr. Rose says. “Every patient has their own set of fears they must face, and I respect if they still refuse to get the vaccine with hopes they will in the future.”