COVID-19 Claims and Facts
What have you heard about COVID-19? See if the information you have heard is fact or where the claims might have come from. To learn more about each claim and access credible sources for verifying the information, click the (+) in the bottom right corner.
CLAIM: Children are not affected by COVID-19.
FACT: Data shows children are increasingly being affected by COVID-19 in more recent months.
- Recent data from the CDC1 show the number of hospital admissions has increased greatly among youth and young adults, ages 0 to 17 years old, during July 2021 and August 2021.
- Children’s bodies are very different from adults. The FDA is being very careful in studying vaccines before issuing them for emergency use in those 11 years of age or younger.
- Adults should take additional safety measures2 to build a protective shield around the children in their community by getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
CLAIM: Cloth and medical masks are dangerous and deprive the wearer of
oxygen and impede lung function.
FACT: Regular use of cloth and medical masks when properly worn, does not cause CO2 intoxication nor oxygen deficiency.
- The CDC states1 cloth masks and surgical masks do not provide an airtight fit across the face. The Carbon Dioxide (CO2) escapes into the air through the mask when you breathe out or talk. Also, CO2 molecules are small enough to easily pass right through mask material, but the larger size of respiratory droplets carrying the virus will not.
- The prolonged use of medical masks can be uncomfortable. However, it does not lead to CO2 intoxication nor oxygen deficiency.2 While wearing a medical mask, make sure it fits properly and that it is tight enough to allow you to breathe normally. Do not re-use a disposable mask and always change it as soon as it gets damp.
- To ensure a mask is properly ventilated, correctly cleaned or disposed of, and will protect the wearer from COVID-19, visit the CDC’s Your Guide to Masks1 webpage.
*Medical masks (also known as surgical masks) are flat or pleated; they are affixed to the head with straps or have ear loops.
CLAIM: The CDC has recalled the PCR test.
FACT: The CDC is changing its current polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay from a single-plex to detect only SARS-CoV-2 to a multiplex assay to detect SARS-CoV-2 and Influenza.
- Although the CDC is asking to withdraw the FDA EUA for the single-plex assay,1 the purpose is for the CDC to take one product off the list of approved tests and replace it with a combination test.
- Such multiplex tests can look for both the novel coronavirus and multiple types of influenza at the same time—which conserves testing materials and allows public health labs to do flu surveillance while testing for SARS-CoV-2, or the virus that causes COVID-19 infection.
- There is no recall or discontinuation of PCR tests2 due to claims that PCR tests are not reliable at detecting the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
CLAIM: It does not matter when you get tested for COVID-19.
FACT: People who have symptoms of COVID-19 should get tested immediately. People who have been in close contact with someone with confirmed COVID-19 should get tested 3-5 days after suspected exposure.
- CDC recommends1 that anyone with any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 infection get tested right away to protect others, regardless of vaccination status or prior infection.
- Those who are fully vaccinated, or not fully
vaccinated, who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 should be
tested 3-5 days after suspected exposure.
- People who are fully vaccinated2 should get tested 3-5 days after suspected exposure and wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result.
- People who are not fully vaccinated should quarantine3 and be tested 3-5 days after suspected exposure and, if negative, get tested again in 5-7 days after last exposure or right away if symptoms develop during quarantine.
- Check for infection 3-5 days after suspected exposure, regardless of vaccination status.
- People who have tested positive for COVID-19 and recovered, within the past 3 months, do not need to get tested following exposure, as long as they do not develop new symptoms.
CLAIM: The County of San Diego is mandating individuals to get
FACT: No, the County is not; however, the State of California is.
Sources:1 https://www.gov.ca.gov/2021/07/26/california-implements-first-in-the-nation-measures-to-encourage-state-employees-and-health-care-workers-to-get-vaccinated/2 https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/Order-of-the-State-Public-Health-Officer-Health-Care-Worker-Vaccine-Requirement.aspx
- Although the County is not "mandating" vaccinations, the State mandates all government employees1 and persons who work in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), and the other health care facility types2 to be fully vaccinated.
- Unvaccinated persons must get tested for COVID-19 twice weekly and wear a surgical mask or higher-level respirator approved by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health3 (NIOSH).
CLAIM: CDC VAERS shows reports of deaths directly linked to the COVID-19 vaccine.
FACT: The FDA requires healthcare providers to report any death after COVID-19 vaccination to VAERS, even if it’s unclear of the cause.
- Reports of adverse events to VAERS following vaccination, including deaths, do not necessarily mean that a vaccine caused a health problem or death.
- VAERS is an early-warning system used for continuous monitoring1 that detects problems possibly related to vaccines. Reporting gives CDC and FDA important information to point out health concerns and ensure vaccines are safe in order to protect the public’s health.
- VAERS accepts reports from anyone.2 Patients, parents, caregivers and healthcare providers (HCP) are encouraged to report adverse events after vaccination to VAERS even if it is not clear that the vaccine caused the adverse event. In addition, HCP are required to report certain adverse events after vaccination.
- More than 383 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the United States from December 14, 2020, through September 13, 2021. During this time, VAERS received 7,653 reports of death (0.0020%) among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine.
- A review of available clinical information, including death certificates, autopsy, and medical records, has not established a causal link to COVID-19 vaccines.
- Recent reports3 indicate a possible
relationship between the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine and
Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS), a rare and serious
adverse event—blood clots with low platelets—which has caused
- As of September 8, 2021, more than 14.5 million doses of the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine have been given4 in the United States. CDC and FDA identified 46 confirmed reports of people who got the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine and later developed TTS. So far, three of these confirmed cases have resulted in death.
CLAIM: There is a cost to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
FACT: COVID-19 vaccines are distributed at no cost by states and local communities.
- Everyone 12 years and older can get a vaccine, at no cost,1 whether at a County site, through your medical provider, or local pharmacy.
- You do not need an appointment at County sites, but you may make an appointment, if preferred.
- You do not need to pay any out-of-pocket costs to get an authorized COVID-19 vaccine—not before, during, or after your appointment.
- You cannot buy COVID-19 vaccines online.
CLAIM: I cannot afford to miss work or change my plans to get the vaccine.
FACT: The County and its partners offer many locations and times to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
- There are many ways to get vaccinated without changing work schedules or plans.
- If there is only a specific day open, the Vaccine Schedule by Day1 webpage offers sites and appointment options 7 days a week.
- If the distance to the vaccine location is an issue, many local clinics and pharmacies (i.e., Walmart, CVS, Walgreens) offer appointments via https://MyTurn.CA.Gov/.
- The County and its partners also host community mobile COVID-19 vaccination site events and provide arrangements to homebound San Diegans.
- For more information or assistance with finding a COVID-19 vaccination site or scheduling an appointment, call 2-1-1.
CLAIM: It’s too late to get the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
FACT: It’s not too late to vaccinate!
- It’s not too late! You should get your second shot as close to the recommended 3-week or 4-week interval1 as possible.
- The CDC recommends your second dose may be given up to 6 weeks (42 days)2 after your first dose. However, if you do receive your second shot of the COVID-19 vaccine earlier or later than recommended, you do not have to restart the vaccine series.
- People with moderately to severely compromised immune systems should receive an additional dose3 of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine after the initial 2 doses.
CLAIM: It’s not worth getting the COVID-19 vaccine since you might still
FACT: The benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the risks of COVID-19 infection.
- Vaccination provides a strong boost in protection and lessens the severity of illness1 due to the COVID-19 disease.
- Without vaccination, more risks from the COVID-19 disease may lead to other conditions such as Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children2 (MIS-C), or neurologic symptoms and cognitive disfunction3 among long haulers.*4
*Long Haulers are those who experience ongoing health problems four or more weeks after first being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.
CLAIM: I already had COVID-19, so I don’t need the vaccine.
FACT: People who have gotten sick with COVID-19 can still benefit from getting vaccinated.
- People are advised to get a COVID-19 vaccine even if they have been sick with COVID-19 before. If you were sick from COVID-19, the vaccine should be given 90 days after infection or after receiving antibody therapy. Reinfection is possible,1 and getting vaccinated is one of the best ways to protect yourself, your family, and your community and lessen that risk.
CLAIM: If lots of other people get the vaccine, I won’t need it.
FACT: Everyone who is able to get the COVID-19 vaccine should get vaccinated to protect you and your community.
- Get vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. Evidence is emerging that people get better protection by being fully vaccinated compared with having had COVID-19. One study showed that unvaccinated people who already had COVID-19 are more than 2 times as likely than fully vaccinated people to get COVID-19 again.
- Building immunity looks different for COVID-19, and the severity of illness is different for each person. Even if you’ve already had COVID-19, the risk of reinfection is still possible, and the risk of hospitalization or death is greater for those who are unvaccinated. Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 not only helps you, but also helps stop the chain of transmission and other variants from developing.
- COVID-19 is still a threat to people who are unvaccinated. Some people who get COVID-19 can become severely ill, which could result in hospitalization, and some people have ongoing health problems several weeks or even longer after getting infected. Even people who did not have symptoms when they were infected can have these ongoing health problems.
CLAIM: I don’t need the COVID-19 vaccine as long as I wear a mask.
FACT: Vaccines are a valuable preventive strategy, when available.
- The main goal of COVID-19 vaccines is to prevent hospitalizations and deaths. However, using multiple tools together1 to reduce the spread of COVID-19 can provide the greatest level of protection.
- Vaccination is the primary prevention strategy to reduce your risk of severe sickness due to COVID-19. In addition, masking is highly recommended in various settings.
- If you are not fully vaccinated and aged 2 or older, you should wear a mask in indoor public places.
- In general, you do not need to wear a mask in outdoor
- In areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases, consider wearing a mask in crowded outdoor settings and for activities with close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated.
CLAIM: The COVID-19 vaccine affects women’s fertility or harms the fetus
FACT: The COVID-19 vaccine is recommended for those who are pregnant due to the well documented risk of COVID-19 and the safety of the vaccine.
- The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists1 (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM), the two leading organizations representing specialists in obstetric care, recommend that all pregnant individuals be vaccinated against COVID-19.
- Data has shown that COVID-19 infection puts pregnant people at increased risk2 of severe complications and even death.
- Pregnant individuals who have chosen to wait until after delivery to be vaccinated may be unintentionally exposing themselves to an increased risk of severe illness or death.
- Those who have recently delivered and were not vaccinated during pregnancy are also strongly encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
CLAIM: Being near someone who received a COVID-19 vaccine can affect my
FACT: It is unlikely being near someone who received a COVID-19 vaccine affects your menstrual cycle.
- Your menstrual cycle cannot be affected1 by being near someone who received a COVID-19 vaccine.
- Many things can affect menstrual cycles, including stress, changes in your schedule, problems with sleep, and changes in diet or exercise. Infections may also affect menstrual cycles.
CLAIM: COVID-19 vaccines alter your DNA.
FACT: It is not possible for COVID-19 vaccines to alter your DNA.
- COVID-19 vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA1 in any way. Both mRNA and viral vector COVID-19 vaccines deliver instructions (genetic material) to our cells to start building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. However, the material never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept.
- Learn more about mRNA2 and viral vector3 COVID-19 vaccines.
CLAIM: COVID-19 vaccines are untested and unsafe because they have not
been fully approved by the FDA.
FACT: All COVID-19 vaccines administered in the U.S. have undergone a series of clinical trials to make sure they are safe and effective.
- Development of vaccines for COVID-19 were built on decades of research on coronaviruses and other vaccines. Adenovirus vector1 research can be traced to the 1950s, while mRNA-based2 vaccines began in the 1990s. For example, the importance of spike protein in the vaccine was already known from vaccines for SARS-CoV-1 in 20023 and MERS-CoV in 2012.4 In addition, vaccine trials involving tens of thousands of volunteers were similar in size and length to previous vaccines.
- As of September 17, 2021, more than 380 million people5 in the U.S. have received at least one dose of the three COVID-19 vaccines.
- As of August 23, 2021, the FDA approved the first COVID-19 vaccine,6 Pfizer-BioNTech, and will now be marketed as Comirnaty®7 (brand name), or tozinameran (generic name), for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age or older.
CLAIM: Vaccines contain microchips.
FACT: No, COVID-19 vaccines do not contain microchips.
- COVID-19 vaccines do not contain microchips.1 Vaccines are developed to fight against disease and are not administered to track your movement. Vaccines work by stimulating your immune system to produce antibodies, exactly like it would if you were exposed to the disease. After getting vaccinated, you develop immunity to that disease, without having to get the disease first.
- Learn more about the ingredients2 in the COVID-19 vaccinations authorized for use in the United States.
- Learn more about how mRNA3 COVID-19 vaccines work.
CLAIM: This is the first-time mRNA has been used in a vaccine.
FACT: mRNA vaccines for the COVID-19 infection are new, but the technology has been used in other vaccines.
Researchers have been studying and working with mRNA vaccines for decades. This means the process has been standardized and scaled up, making vaccine development faster.
The mRNA vaccines1 have been studied before for flu, Zika, rabies, and cytomegalovirus (CMV).
As soon as the necessary information about the virus that causes COVID-19 was available, scientists began designing the mRNA instructions for cells to build the unique spike protein into an mRNA vaccine.
Beyond vaccines, cancer research has used mRNA2 to trigger the immune system to target specific cancer cells.
CLAIM: Viral vector vaccine technology is brand new and not worth the risk.
FACT: Scientists began creating viral vectors in the 1970s and have since been studied rigorously for safety.
For decades, hundreds of scientific studies of viral vector vaccines1 have been conducted and published worldwide. This includes studies based on viral vector vaccines against infectious diseases, such as Ebola and Zika.2
Different types of viral vectors3 are used in research, including retroviruses, adenoviruses, herpes simplex viruses, and adeno-associated viruses. J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccines only use the adenovirus viral vector.
The viral vector vaccine for COVID-19 is safe and held to the same standards as all other vaccines in the U.S.
CLAIM: Getting a COVID-19 vaccine will cause me to test positive for
COVID-19 on a viral test.
FACT: None of the authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines cause you to test positive on diagnostic viral test, which are used to see if you have a current infection.
- None of the authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines cause you to test positive on viral tests,1 which are used to see if you have a current infection.
- If your body develops an immune response to vaccination, which is the goal, you may test positive on some antibody tests.2 Antibody tests indicate you had a previous infection and that you may have some level of protection against the virus.
- Learn more about the possibility of COVID-19 illness after vaccination.3
CLAIM: Receiving a COVID-19 vaccine causes you to be magnetic.
FACT: Receiving a COVID-19 vaccine will not make you magnetic, including at the site of vaccination which is usually your arm.
Receiving a COVID-19 vaccine will not make you magnetic,1 including at the site of vaccination which is usually your arm. COVID-19 vaccines do not contain ingredients that can produce an electromagnetic field at the site of your injection.
All COVID-19 vaccines are free from metals.
Learn more about the ingredients2 in the COVID-19 vaccinations authorized for use in the United States.
CLAIM: The COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States
shed or release their components.
FACT: No, none of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use shed or release their components.
Vaccine shedding is the term used to describe the release or discharge of any of the vaccine components in or outside of the body.
Vaccine shedding can only occur when a vaccine contains a weakened version of the virus.
CLAIM: Doctors don’t know how long it takes the mRNA from the vaccine to
break down in your body.
FACT: It takes approximately two weeks for the mRNA to become effective in the body.
- The mRNA vaccines are stored at extremely low temperatures as they are sensitive to heat.
- Once a person is vaccinated, the vaccine remains only long enough—approximately two weeks—to train the immune system to recognize and fight the COVID-19 virus before disappearing.
- Vaccines train our immune systems to create proteins that fight disease, known as ‘antibodies’, just as would happen when we are exposed to a disease but—crucially—vaccines work without making us sick.
- Vaccinated people are protected from getting the disease in question and passing on the pathogen, breaking any chains of transmission.
|Abbreviation||Definition or Full Name of Organization|
|ACIP||Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices|
|CDC||Centers for Disease Control and Prevention|
|CDPH||California Department of Public Health|
|EUA||Emergency Use Authorization|
|FDA||Food and Drug Administration|
|HIV||Human Immunodeficiency Virus|
|J&J||Johnson & Johnson|
|MERS||Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome|
|MIS-A||MIS-A Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Adults|
|MIS-C||Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children|
|mRNA||Messenger ribonucleic acid PCR Polymerase Chain Reaction|
|PCR||Polymerase Chain Reaction|
|TTS||Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome|
|VAERS||Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System|