Can I catch COVID from the vaccine?

Some people have worried that they can catch COVID by getting the vaccine. Fortunately, this is not true. You cannot catch COVID from the vaccine. 

The two vaccines approved for use in the US are mRNA vaccines. mRNA vaccines do not contain the coronavirus that causes COVID. Instead, mRNA vaccines give your body a blueprint to produce (harmless) parts of a virus using your own cells’ mechanisms.

People have wondered if their bodies will then make the coronavirus. Again, no. The blueprint in the vaccines is only for one part of the virus. It’d be like trying to build a house but only having plans for the garage!

Finally, people have heard that some people feel sick after the vaccine, especially after the second dose. This is not COVID either. These symptoms occur because your immune system is being activated by the vaccine. (And many people reported them even after getting a placebo injection, suggesting that lots of people just have a headache or feel tired by chance after getting vaccinated.)

So keep yourself and your friends and family safe, and get the vaccine when your turn comes.


Last update: February 5, 2021, 11:57 am ET
Science review: ERS