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No, the COVID-19 vaccine doesn't alter your DNA

We're debunking a few of the most common vaccine myths circulating online.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — There are a lot of questions and concerns when it comes to the two new vaccines that have received authorization from the FDA.  Unfortunately, reasonable questions from consumers can at times lead to an onslaught of misinformation and conspiracy theories when high-stress times lead to what experts call a “data deficit”: a time when the demand for information is high, but the supply of credible information is slower than normal.

With that said, here are three COVID-19 vaccine myths spreading online, and the truth from vaccine researchers and experts.

MYTH ONE: THE VACCINES WERE DEVELOPED TOO QUICKLY TO BE SAFE

It is true that the vaccines were developed in record time; given that, it is understandable that some may worry about the safety process being compromised.  

However, scientists and researchers say this is not at all the case.

It’s important to know that they had already been working on a vaccine for similar viruses for years—so, when COVID-19 emerged, they already had some idea of what might work and what might not.

MYTH TWO:  THE VACCINES CAN ALTER YOUR DNA

This is simply false. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are made of mRNA (“messenger”-RNA), not DNA.  The mRNA in the vaccine acts sort of like an instruction manual for your cells, letting them know how to create a guard against the coronavirus; but, this component never enters the nucleus of your cell, where your DNA is kept.

Simply put, it doesn’t have the ability to alter your DNA in any way.

MYTH THREE: NATURAL IMMUNITY IS A BETTER WAY TO FIGHT THE VIRUS

The third myth suggests that we don’t need the vaccine because developing a natural immune response and herd immunity is the better route to go. There are a couple important things to know about this claim. 

First, experts don’t know how long natural immunity lasts after someone recovers from COVID-19. Immunity varies from person to person, and there have been a few cases of people getting the disease twice.

Second, because the vaccine uses mRNA to assist our body in building immunity, it skips the risks associated from developing an immune response through direct contact with the virus itself.

Have more questions about the COVID-19 vaccine? Send us a text at 502-582-7290 and we'll try to find the answer for you.

Contact reporter Rob Harris atrjharris@whas11.com. Follow him onTwitter (@robharristv) andFacebook

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