COVID-19 vaccines protect you from getting sick. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says people who are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations and booster shots are well-protected from serious illness and dying from the disease.
But millions of people in the U.S. remain hesitant or refuse to be vaccinated. As of early January, just 62% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated and 75% have received at least one dose, according to Mayo Clinic's U.S. COVID-19 vaccine tracker.
The CDC encourages people to talk to their health care providers about COVID-19 vaccines and clear up much of the misinformation about these potentially lifesaving shots.
In the meantime, Mayo Clinic experts debunk some common myths about COVID-19 vaccines:
MYTH: COVID-19 vaccines are not safe because they were rapidly developed and tested.
This is not true, according to Dr. Andrew Badley, an infectious diseases specialist and head of Mayo Clinic's COVID-19 Research Task Force.
"There was fast-tracking in the execution of the clinical trials. It's very important to know what parts were fast-tracked and which parts were not," says Dr. Badley. "The fast-tracked part were regulatory approvals, funding, data analysis and submission to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). Those are all paperwork items. What was not fast-tracked was enrollment of patients, clinical follow-up of these patients, capturing the events which occurred and the follow-up. These trials were executed very well."
MYTH: I already had COVID-19 and recovered, so I don't need to be vaccinated for COVID-19.
This is not true, according to Dr. Abinash Virk, an infectious diseases specialist and co-chair of Mayo Clinic's COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation and Distribution Work Group.
"For the people who think that they've had COVID-19 and they don't need the vaccine, you still want to get the vaccine because it's going to give you long-term protection."