Trust the Truth: Not the Myths

MYTH: The CDC has said that 94% of those who died with COVID-19 did not die from the virus.
TRUTH: This statement is a misrepresentation of a CDC report that indicated that 94% of those who died from COVID-19 had at least one comorbid medical condition. The report did not say that the cause of death was the other medical condition. It is well known that having comorbid medical conditions increases one’s likelihood of having a severe case of COVID-19, including hospitalization and death. In addition, the strongest predictor of who dies from COVID-19 is age, and in the general population of those who are over age 65, the majority have at least one comorbid medical condition (hypertension, cardiac disease, cancer and diabetes being the most common). Since older and less well people are more vulnerable to severe COVID-19 if they get infected, the CDC data only confirms that having a comorbid disorder increases the risk of dying from COVID-19.

Read more:
CDC Weekly Updates by Select Demographic and Geographic Characteristics


MYTH: The Nuremberg Code, formulated to address Nazi war crimes in WWII, forbids requiring citizens to be forced to undergo any medical procedures, including vaccination.
TRUTH:  The Nuremberg Code only applies to medical procedures being carried out as part of a medical experiment. Nothing in the Nuremberg Code, including article 6, sections 1 and 3, which have been cited, addresses medical procedures carried out to improve the public’s or an individual patient’s health. Since the Nazi’s conducted medical experiments without patients’ consent, the Nuremberg Code prohibits medical experimentation that does not obtain participants’ consent and offers the right to refuse to participate. This has nothing to do with public health procedures or any medical procedures provided outside of the context of a medical experiment.

Read more:
Nuremberg Code


MYTH: Messenger RNA (mRNA) is an untested vaccine methodology
TRUTH: The COVID-19 messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines may be the first commercially available human vaccines to use mRNA technology, but it is has been used in the vaccine studies for 30 years.

Read more:
Pardi N, Hogan MJ, Porter FW, Weissman D. mRNA vaccines - a new era in vaccinology. Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2018 Apr; 17(4):261-279. doi:10.1038/nrd.2017.243. Epub 2018 Jan 12. PMID: 29326426; PMCID: PMC5906799.


MYTH: mRNA vaccines change your DNA
TRUTH: There is no risk of the mRNA changing your DNA, because it never enters the part of the cell (the nucleus) where the DNA is.


MYTH: Microchips are injected  in your arm along with the vaccine
TRUTH:  One of the syringes planned for COVID vaccinations has a microchip on the outside of the pre-filled syringes that can be scanned for tracking of administered vaccines.  The microchip stays on the outside of the syringe and does NOT get injected.  Microchips are not injected along with the vaccine.


MYTH:  Racial/ethnic groups or the elderly are not being singled out as "guinea pigs" to get the first vaccine
TRUTH: The groups being offered vaccines are those at highest risk of acquiring or transmitting infection or having severe complications. Neither race nor ethnicity are being used for prioritization.


MYTH: The Pfizer and the Moderna mRNA vaccines cause sterilization in women.
TRUTH: The spike proteins coded for by the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are different than the placental protein syncytin-1 and there is no reason to believe that the vaccines will induce an immune response to this unrelated protein. As of 2/28/21, CDC reported numerous births following COVID-19 vaccination with no increase in pregnancy or birth complications.

Read more:
CDC ACIP COVID Vaccine Safety Update 3/1/21


MYTH: You can get COVID-19 from a COVID-19 vaccine.
TRUTH:  None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently used or expected soon include the actual coronavirus in it, so they cannot give you COVID-19.

Read more: 
Kwon, D. The Promise of mRNA Vaccines. The Scientist, Nov 25, 2020.


MYTH: The Risk of death from the COVID-19 vaccines is greater than the risk of death from the virus itself.
TRUTH: This is not true.

Pfizer and Moderna Vaccines: While some instances of severe allergic reaction and anaphylaxis have been reported, mainly in people with a history of allergic reactions no deaths having been clearly related to vaccination, death rates in the days following vaccination are lower than would be expected based on normal death rates over that period of time for persons of the ages getting vaccinated (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, CDC).

Johnson and Johnson (Janssen) Vaccine: On April 13, 2021, the FDA recommended a pause in administration of the Janssen vaccine due to a report of 6 cases of a syndrome, known as thrombosis plus thrombocytopenia syndrome or TTS. All six cases occurred in women age 18-48 and 1 person had died. On April 23,2021, after a 10-day pause of examination of all evidence related to those cases as well as 9 additional cases, which included 2 additional deaths, the CDC and FDA found that the vaccine’s known and potential benefits outweigh its known and potential risks in individuals 18 years of age and older. The TTS was shown to have a risk of 7 cases per 1 million doses of the Janssen vaccine administered to women ages 18 to 49. The risk for women older than 50 was .9 per 1 million doses. Compared to the risks for hospitalization and death from COVID-19, these risks were less than the risks from not being vaccinated for COVID-19. Both agencies recommended a resumption of administration of the Janssen vaccine, along with revision of the Fact Sheets for providers and recipients to include information about the risk of this syndrome, which has occurred in a very small number of people who have received the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine.

Read more:
FDA and CDC Lift Recommended Pause on Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 Vaccine Use Following Thorough Safety Review


MYTH: The government is considering giving half-doses of Moderna or Pfizer vaccines because of safety concerns related to side effects.

TRUTH: Government proposals to administer half-doses of Moderna vaccine or increase the time between doses are being discussed to allow more people to get vaccinated over a shorter period of time and are not related to safety issues nor fears of side effects.


MYTH:   Photos of "disappearing needles" show that vaccinations are fake and no one is getting vaccinated.
TRUTH:  These photos of  syringes have been used in anti-vax campaigns to show that no one is really getting vaccinated. These are photos of safety syringes whose needles are being retracted into the syringe after delivering the vaccine, so as to prevent the user from needlesticks.


MYTH: Vaccines are not being given to children and adolescents because they have been found to be dangerous to children and adolescents
TRUTH: Vaccines are not being given to children and adolescents because they have not yet been tested with that age; studies are currently underway in children down to age 12.


MYTH:  COVID-19 vaccines use cells from aborted fetuses.
TRUTH: Neither the Pfizer nor the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine was developed using cells from aborted fetuses.  Some of the vaccines currently in development use kidney or retinal cell lines that are widely used in research and industry that were originally derived from fetuses aborted in 1972 and 1985, respectively, but no ongoing abortions are being conducted to produce cells for use in vaccines. The Janssen (Johnson and Johnson) vaccine used retinal (eye)  fetal cells from a cell line developed from the 1985 fetus in the development and manufacture of the vaccine but fetal cells are not part of the vaccine itself.


MYTH: COVID-19 is no worse than the seasonal flu
TRUTH: Compared with seasonal flu, COVID-19 was associated with a much higher risk of death, organ failure, intensive care unit admission and prolonged length of stay in hospitalized patients. COVID can be a much more serious and lethal disease than seasonal influenza.

Read more:
Comparative evaluation of clinical manifestations and risk of death in patients admitted to hospital with covid-19 and seasonal influenza. British Medical Journal