This page is reviewed regularly. Last updated on August 27th 2021.
If you haven’t had your shot yet, now is the time. It takes a few weeks after your first dose for your system to build up enough antibodies to help protect you from serious disease.
Even with high case numbers, some people are still not sure they want to get vaccinated. Here are some answers to common questions about vaccine safety that may help you or someone you care about take this important step.
1. The vaccine was made so fast. Do we know it’s safe? Yes.
When the pandemic started, there was no vaccine for the particular virus that causes COVID-19, but scientists have been working on vaccines for similar viruses for some time. This sped up the process of developing specific vaccines quickly.
Social media helped find volunteers to participate in studies when a vaccine was ready, and the numbers of people in vaccine studies was much larger than usual. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is the first to be granted full approval by the FDA for all people ages 16 and older1. Both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna shots are highly effective, and their studies show no serious or life-threatening side effects2. The single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine is also effective, but carries two FDA warnings for rare occurrences of the neurological disorder Guillain-Barre ́ syndrome and a blood clotting disorder in a small number of recipients2. Nearly 200 million people have safely been given at least one dose of vaccine in the US.
2. Does getting the COVID-19 vaccine give you COVID-19? No.
The vaccine teaches your cells how to make a protein that is part of the coronavirus. That makes it easier for your immune system to fight off the virus if it enters your body. The vaccine does not contain the coronavirus itself. The protein that gives your cells “instructions” on how to fight the virus does not cause any infection. You may have some side effects after getting your shot but they are temporary. Any side effects from the shot are not the same thing as having COVID-19.
3. Are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine dangerous? No.
You may feel: soreness or pain where the shot was injected, body aches, fatigue, headaches, or fever. These symptoms generally last 1-2 days. It is extremely unlikely that side effects will last longer than a few days, but if they do, make an appointment with your Babylon doctor. If you have allergies, especially serious allergies that require you to carry an EpiPen, discuss the vaccine with a Babylon doctor before getting your first shot.
4. Is it safe for breastfeeding or pregnant parents to get vaccinated? Yes.
Vaccination is recommended for all people over the age of 12. That includes those who are breastfeeding, pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or may become pregnant in the future. Pregnant or recently pregnant people have a higher risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19. Evidence is continuing to grow that the vaccines are effective during pregnancy, and recent studies have shown the mRNA-based vaccines may help protect newborns from the COVID-19 virus as well3.
5. Can the vaccine affect a woman’s fertility? No.
There is no evidence that any vaccines, including those for COVID-19, cause fertility problems for women or men. The COVID-19 vaccines do encourage your body to produce antibodies necessary to fight the virus. A false report on social media claimed that the protein on this coronavirus was the same as another protein involved in the growth and attachment of the placenta during pregnancy, and the vaccine would cause a woman’s body to fight against this important protein. The fact is the two proteins are completely different3.
Where to read more on the topic of vaccine safety
You can also visit GetVaccineAnswers.org to find an FAQ written with the help of the CDC.