Learn about the short and long-term side effects you may experience after getting a COVID-19 shot and the myths about the vaccine.

Since the COVID-19 vaccines, also known as shots, became available to the general public, over 230 million doses have been given across the country. In Pennsylvania alone, more than 3 million people have gotten their shot. As the number of people getting their shot continues to rise and we work toward building immunity thresholds, you may hear your friends, family or even coworkers talk about the vaccine side effects they experienced after getting the shot.   

Some people may have minor side effects, such as feeling tired, pain in their arm, a low fever or aches, while others may not have any symptoms at all. A very small number of those who get the shot have had serious reactions (around 2-5 people out of a million). 

Don’t let the vaccine side effects stories you hear scare you – ultimately, the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective and is designed to protect you, your loved ones and your community from serious illness, long-term effects of COVID-19 and death. For those who are 65+ and fully vaccinated (meaning they have had all doses of the vaccine and it has been more than 14 days since their last shot), there is a 94% reduction in the risk of being sick enough to be hospitalized due to COVID-19 infection. 

There are lots of myths about COVID-19 vaccine side effects. Let’s look at a few of them:

  • Myth: “The COVID-19 vaccine causes infertility.” Fact: Multiple studies have shown that there is NO evidence that the vaccine affects current or future fertility.
  • Myth: “We don’t know the long-term effects of the vaccine.” Fact: According to the head of the Brown School of Public Health and other experts, vaccine side effects almost always show up within the first two weeks, and certainly within the first two months after vaccination. The COVID-19 vaccine has already been in use for much longer than that with no reported severe long-term effects.
  • Myth: “It’s nobody else’s business if I get vaccinated or not.” Fact: Your personal health is your business when it affects you and only you. But choosing not to get the vaccinated affects a lot of people, not just yourself. Remember: there are some people who can’t get the COVID-19 vaccineChildren under 12 and those with serious health conditions can’t be vaccinated at this time, so they’re counting on their families, communities and even you to protect them by getting vaccinated. Also, if not enough people get vaccinated, the virus can live on and infect more people. Check out more reasons why you should get vaccinated. 
  • Myth: The vaccine will alter my DNA. Fact: The COVID-19 vaccine can’t alter your DNA, and neither can other vaccines. The material in the vaccine doesn’t enter the nucleus of your cells, where DNA is produced. As a result, it cannot change your DNA.

Everyone 12 and over in the U.S. is now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Getting the vaccine protects you, your family and the community. Find more information on the COVID-19 vaccines and explore where you can get vaccinated today.