Misinformation and disinformation about COVID-19 vaccines is everywhere. But the fact is that the COVID-19 vaccine is the very best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from serious illness and hospitalization. It’s safe, and it’s effective. And it will help keep you from having to go to the hospital.
Here are some common questions and answers about the COVID-19 vaccine.
Are all events reported to the federal Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) caused by vaccination?
No. VAERS data alone cannot determine if the reported adverse event was caused by a COVID-19 vaccination.
Everyone, including patients and their healthcare providers, can report events to VAERS, even if it is not clear whether a vaccine caused the problem. Some VAERS reports may contain information that is incomplete, inaccurate, coincidental, or unverifiable.
Serious adverse events reported into VAERS are studied by vaccine safety experts who look for unusually high numbers of health problems, or a pattern of problems, after people receive a vaccine. The Department of Health and Welfare (DHW) reviews VAERS reports that indicate a serious adverse event for Idaho residents.
Recently, the number of deaths reported to VAERS after COVID-19 vaccination has been misinterpreted and misreported as deaths proven to be caused by vaccination. However, reports to VAERS of adverse events after vaccination, including deaths, do not necessarily mean that a vaccine caused a health problem.
Learn more about VAERS.
Can COVID-19 vaccines cause cancer?
No. None of the vaccines alter your genes in any way, and therefore cannot cause cancer. The vaccines teach cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response if someone gets infected. Those instructions do not interact with your DNA or alter genes.
Even so, swollen lymph nodes after vaccination can mimic the symptoms of cancer on mammograms or other scans, so make sure to notify your healthcare provider if you are getting a cancer screening or other scans shortly after being vaccinated.
Is a vaccine that’s 60-80 percent effective worth taking?
Yes. All three of the COVID-19 vaccines are more than 90 percent effective for preventing severe disease and hospitalization. Even if a person who has been vaccinated becomes infected, they are much less likely to have symptoms that require hospitalization.
Also, if most of the people in a community are vaccinated, it will help to limit the spread of disease, achieve community immunity, and end the pandemic.
Do I need to get the vaccine if I have already had COVID-19?
Yes. COVID-19 vaccination for people who have already been infected with and recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infection lowers the risk of future infections even further.
Stay up to date with the latest and most accurate information on COVID-19 at these websites:
- Idaho’s Coronavirus website: see a timeline, the most current data on cases, vaccine, and more.
- Idaho Rebounds website
- CDC COVID-19 website
Follow DHW on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is dedicated to strengthening the health, safety, and independence of Idahoans. Learn more at healthandwelfare.idaho.gov.