Busting up the myths: Separating vaccine fact from fiction

Published on April 13, 2021

a graphic that says vaccine awareness month

Each Tuesday throughout COVID-19 Vaccine Awareness & Education Month, we'll be unmasking some of today's most prevalent vaccination myths to provide our community with medically sound, CDC-backed truths about the vaccine.

Today, we're providing facts about a widespread COVID-19 vaccine misconception:

MYTH: The COVID-19 vaccine will alter my DNA.

TRUTH: No. COVID-19 vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way.

As it stands now, there are two types of COVID-19 vaccines that have been authorized for use in the United States: messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines and viral vector vaccines.

The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are mRNA vaccines, and they teach our cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response. The mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA resides. This means the mRNA cannot affect or interface with our DNA in any way. Rather, COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work with the body's natural defenses to safely develop immunity to disease.

Learn more about how COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work. 

Johnson & Johnson's Janssen COVID-19 vaccine is a viral vector vaccine. These types of vaccines use a modified version of a different, harmless virus (the vector) to deliver critical instructions to our cells to start building protection. The instructions are delivered in the form of genetic material that does not integrate into your DNA. These instructions tell the cell to make a harmless piece of virus that causes COVID-19. This is a "spike protein and is only found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19. This triggers our immune system to recognize the virus that causes COVID-19 and start making antibodies and activating other immune cells to fight off what it thinks is an infection.

Learn more about how viral vector vaccines work. 

At the end of this process, our bodies have learned how to shield us against future infection from COVID-19. That immune response and the antibodies that our bodies manufacture defend us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.

For what it's worth: The COVID-19 vaccine also does not contain a tracking microchip designed to load personal intel into some sort of covert database. That particular myth hit the scene following comments made by Bill Gates about a digital certificate of vaccine records. The tech he was referring to isn't a microchip, hasn't been rolled out and isn't related in any way, shape or form to the development, testing or distribution of COVID-19 vaccinations.

Register to get vaccinated

Tarrant County Public Health maintains an online portal that allows individuals to easily register for a no-cost vaccine for residents with or without health insurance. Tarrant County Public Health will send an email, text message or phone message regarding upcoming appointments.

The City of Fort Worth website provides additional information about the vaccination process and other providers in the community.


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