We are continuing our questions and answers about the COVID vaccines this week with more of the common questions that I hear about the vaccines.
Who is currently being hospitalized most often due to COVID-19?
Unvaccinated people make up the vast majority of current hospitalizations and death from COVID-19. A recent study over a period of six months showed that among adults, those who were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 made up only 4% of hospitalizations. 87% of adults hospitalized were unvaccinated. Partially vaccinated adults made up the other 9% of hospitalizations.
Are there any factors that make a fully vaccinated person at higher risk of hospitalization or death from a COVID-19 infection?
Yes. Studies in both Israel and the United Kingdom have recently been published, which confirm the information thus far reported to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), showing the highest risk of severe illness in adults who are fully vaccinated is among those 65 or older and/or those with 3 or more underlying medical conditions.
Are all adverse events that happen after a vaccine caused by the vaccination?
No. Over a billion people around the world have now been vaccinated for COVID-19. In our normal daily lives, people have colds, have heart attacks, develop any number of health problems. When billions of people get vaccines, some of those normal illnesses might just happen to occur after a vaccination. These adverse events are reported through a number of ways. These events are then studied by vaccine safety experts and other health experts, who look for patterns or unusually high numbers of health problems after people receive a particular vaccine. This is true of all vaccines that are given in the US, and the same thing is happening with the COVID vaccines. Just because something happens after a vaccination, does not necessarily mean that it was caused by the vaccine.
Do the COVID-19 vaccines used in the US shed or release any of their components?
No. Vaccine shedding is a term used to describe the release of any of the vaccine components in or outside of the body. Vaccine shedding can only happen when a vaccine contains a weakened version of a live virus. mRNA and viral vector vaccines are the two types of vaccines currently authorized in the US. These vaccines do not contain any live virus.
Can a COVID-19 vaccine cause you to get sick with COVID-19?
No. Because the vaccines approved in the US do not contain any live virus, they cannot cause you to get a COVID-19 infection. They can cause you to have a fever or to feel bad for a few days, but this is not from a COVID infection. It is because your immune system is responding normally to the vaccine and building protection against the coronavirus.
People who develop COVID-19 after a vaccination were either already exposed before they got the vaccine or before the vaccine had a chance to build protection (two weeks after your second shot of a 2 dose vaccine or 2 weeks after the single Johnson and Johnson vaccine).
Can a COVID vaccine alter your DNA?
No. COVID-19 vaccines do not change or even interact with your DNA in any way. They deliver instructions to our cells to start building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. The material never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept.
Will the COVID-19 vaccine make it hard for you to get pregnant or cause pregnancy complications?
No. There is a lot of data from all around the world regarding the COVID-19 vaccines, and there is no evidence that any COVID vaccine, or any other vaccine for that matter, cause fertility problems in women or men. COVID-19 vaccines have been tested in pregnant women with no pregnancy complications documented.
Pregnant women have a higher risk of complications from a COVID-19 infection, causing problems for both mother and baby. Vaccination can protect you from those complications.
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Dr. Anita Bennett MD – Health Tip Content Editor