Dr. Fauci Just Debunked the 4 Biggest Myths About the COVID Vaccine

These vaccine misconceptions are unfounded, the nation's leading infectious disease expert says.

Since long before the first rounds of the COVID vaccine went out, skeptics have been hard at work questioning every aspect of the new vaccine. To combat the misinformation, health experts—including Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)—have been doing their best to clarify misunderstandings and present accurate information about the vaccine. During a recent rapid-fire question and answer session, Fauci debunked some of the most common myths about the vaccine.

While Fauci was on CNBC's Healthy Returns on Dec. 16, Meg Tirrell asked him about some of the myths about the vaccine that have been going around. Read on for the truth behind four of the most common vaccine misconceptions, and for those who are still feeling skeptical, If You're Doubting the COVID Vaccine, Dr. Fauci Has a Message for You.

Myth: You can get COVID from the vaccine.

Woman getting COVID vaccine

When Tirrell asked Fauci if you could get COVID from the coronavirus vaccine, citing the common misconception that you can get the flu from the flu vaccine, Fauci debunked the possibility swiftly. Although some of the common side effects of the vaccine are similar to the side effects you might experience with COVID, that doesn't mean you have the virus. Fauci said getting COVID from the vaccine is "absolutely impossible." And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Myth: The vaccine can alter your DNA.

Patient Getting Vaccinated Against Coronavirus In Hospital
Prostock-Studio / iStock

Tirrell brought up another myth that has been floating around. Some people have said they are concerned the vaccine will alter their DNA, but again Fauci says that's "absolutely not" possible.

"They're getting a snippet of RNA, which is coding for a protein. It has nothing to do with your own genetic material," Fauci explained. "It gets injected. It gets into a cell, and it starts pumping out the spike protein that you want the body to make an immune response. It doesn't integrate into any aspect of your own genetic material. It's totally separate from your own genetic material." And for more insight from the infectious disease expert, Dr. Fauci Just Said You'll Be Able to Get the COVID Vaccine Even Sooner.

Myth: The speed of development affected the vaccine's safety and efficacy.

Hand holds Coronavirus Covid-19 Vaccine glass bottle

Many skeptics have noted how quickly the vaccine was developed in an attempt to use its speed against it. However, Fauci said the speed was just "a reflection of the extraordinary scientific advances that have been made in platform technologies for vaccines" over the past decade.

Fauci also credited the speed of the vaccine development to the "enormous amount of money" that was devoted to getting coronavirus vaccines prepared—even before approval. The NIAID director was adamant that the speed of the vaccine development "was not at the expense of safety, nor was it at the expense of scientific integrity." And for one side effect to be aware of, The COVID Vaccine Could Temporarily Paralyze This Body Part, FDA Warns.

Myth: You can stop wearing a mask after you're vaccinated.

Man's hand holding mask

With the end of COVID in sight, many people are eager to toss out their masks, but Fauci says we can't do away with precautions just yet. "You need to keep wearing masks and doing the fundamental public health measures" even after you've been vaccinated, he said.

According to Fauci, we can't begin to get rid of any public health measures until there is an extremely low amount of virus circulating, which he believes will be when between 70 to 80 percent of people have immunity to COVID. And for more on the future of the pandemic, Dr. Fauci Says This Is When You'll Be Able to Throw Away Your Face Mask.

Best Life is constantly monitoring the latest news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed. Here are the answers to your most burning questions, the ways you can stay safe and healthy, the facts you need to know, the risks you should avoid, the myths you need to ignore,and the symptoms to be aware of. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.
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