Health Advice



Mayo Clinic experts debunk COVID-19 vaccine myths

Jason Howland, Mayo Clinic News Network on

Published in Health & Fitness

MYTH: The vaccines can give you COVID-19.

This is not true, according to Dr. Melanie Swift, an occupational medicine specialist and co-chair of Mayo Clinic's COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation and Distribution Work Group.

"They do provoke an immune reaction, which can cause symptoms. That shouldn't be confused with being harmful or being unsafe. It's actually what the vaccine is intended to do. And those symptoms include things like having muscle aches, having chills, having a headache, feeling tired. These are symptoms that people are very likely to experience after getting vaccinated for two to five days at most. They are not harmful, but they will be concerning to people if they're not expecting them."

MYTH: It's not safe for children to be vaccinated for COVID-19.

This is not true, according to Dr. Tina Ardon, a Mayo Clinic family medicine physician.

"The COVID-19 vaccine is extremely safe for our children. We have a number of studies that represent that. We've had a number of children who have already received the vaccines, and we have been able to monitor those children closely. And we feel very confident this is a safe and effective vaccine."

"Because the vaccine is extremely safe, extremely effective, we do feel that the benefit greatly outweighs any potential risks of the vaccine, which really, there are very minimal risks, if any. And the ones that we have noticed are things that we can take care of in the outpatient setting very easily. The risks of actually getting COVID-19 for our patients are quite significant. We see things like inflammation of the heart, chronic lung problems. Patients may need to be hospitalized, and even can die from COVID-19 infection."

MYTH: Young people don't get severely sick with COVID-19, so they don't need to be vaccinated.


This is not true, according to Dr. Virk.

"For the people who are young and healthy who think: 'I'm not going to get severe COVID. I'm not going to die from it,' for them, I want to say they should get the vaccine to protect themselves — because even young people can get severely ill. But more so, you should get vaccinated for your community, for your friends, for your family, and for your country. I would encourage every person to go out and seek your COVID-19 vaccine so that we can all go get back to our lives again."

MYTH: COVID-19 vaccines have severe side effects, especially for children.

This is not true, according to Dr. Ardon.

"The COVID-19 vaccines, in a lot of ways, are no different than the other vaccines we have available. They're administered in the same way, either in the arm or in the leg, depending on the age of the child. The doses are appropriate for the age of the child, as well. There's no special follow-up that has to happen after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. And the side effects are quite similar to other vaccines, including fever, muscle aches but most likely pain, redness and swelling at the injection site."


Information in this post was accurate at the time of its posting. Due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientific understanding, along with guidelines and recommendations, may have changed since the original publication date.

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