Top 10 Myths about the COVID-19 Vaccine

Top 10 Myths about the COVID-19 Vaccine title=
Top 10 Myths about the COVID-19 Vaccine
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By Dr. Henning Ansorg, M.D., FACP, Health Officer County of Santa Barbara, Department of Public Health

One of the most critical steps we can take to re-open our communities is to be vaccinated when it is our turn. Some have expressed fear of getting vaccinated and unfortunately, misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine has contributed to that fear. Here are 10 myths with accurate information to help you feel comfortable getting vaccinated.

Myth #1: COVID-19 vaccines were ‘rushed’ so they could still be unsafe.

While it is true that the COVID-19 vaccine was produced relatively quickly, it, does not mean scientists and researchers skipped critical steps. Rather, drug manufacturers and the government removed many of the bureaucratic inefficiencies that typically slow the process. No corners were cut in the trials and the results were remarkable.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration are continuing to monitor COVID-19 vaccine safety  as the vaccines are distributed.

So far, serious vaccine reactions have been occurring at a rate of 4.5 in 1 Million doses given. This is very comparable to other vaccines. Of note: none of the severe allergic reactions were deadly and all recovered quickly. No death after receipt of the vaccine could be attributed to the vaccine but only to an expected prognosis in otherwise ill persons.

Myth #2: You can get COVID-19 from the vaccine.

The vaccines that have been approved for use in the United States do NOT contain the live virus that causes COVID-19, which means it is simply not possible to get sick with COVID-19 as a result.  Getting a headache, chills or a short-lived fever or feeling fatigued for 1-2 days after getting vaccinated is a normal reaction and a sign that the body’s immune system is getting activated by the vaccine to be able to fight the virus. Short lived soreness at the injection site is also quite common but not dangerous.

Myth #3: Santa Barbara County is receiving fewer vaccines than other counties.

The number of disproportionately impacted communities, settings, and populations may differ among counties, thereby affecting the formula used to determine the State’s allocation of vaccine to the county. Bigger counties also tend to have more large clinic/hospital systems that may get extra allocations of vaccine.

Myth #4: The vaccines can change your DNA.

The approved coronavirus vaccines use messenger RNA, or mRNA. This technology teaches the body’s cells to make a harmless piece of the “spike protein” found on the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This triggers an immune response that produces antibodies, protecting against COVID-19 infection. This messenger RNA stays in the outer part of our cell, called the cytoplasm. It doesn’t enter into the nucleus of the cell, so it does not have access to our DNA.

Myth #5: The COVID-19 vaccines can cause infertility.

This claim has absolutely no scientific evidence. It was promulgated by social media platforms of the anti-vaxx movement. It was also a story line in a popular TV series Utopia, however completely fictional.

Getting vaccinated is important for pregnant women and those who are planning to become pregnant in order to protect mom/parents and baby from COVID-19.

Myth #6: You don’t have to get vaccinated if you’ve already had COVID-19.

The CDC says that anyone who has had COVID-19 and recovered (and otherwise qualifies for vaccination) should be offered the vaccine. New mutations of the virus are causing variants that may re-infect persons who had the original virus previously. Also, the vaccine causes a more robust immune response than the actual disease. It is recommended to get vaccinated even if you had COVID-19.

Myth #7: Once you’ve been vaccinated, you can no longer spread the virus.

It’s not yet clear whether the vaccines prevent individuals from spreading the virus to others. That means it’s possible that a fully vaccinated person might be exposed to the coronavirus, become infected without any outward symptoms, and then pass the virus along. Therefore, it is crucial that public health measures like mask-wearing, hand-washing and social distancing remain in place, even after obtaining the two-dose vaccination.

Myth #8: Severe reactions to the COVID-19 vaccines are common.

There have been cases of severe allergic reactions to the vaccine but the chances of getting the virus is much higher. While these reactions are alarming, the occurrence is quite rare at 4.5 per 1 million vaccinations and comparable to other vaccines. Also, every occurrence in the USA had a good outcome and quick recovery with typical medical treatment.

Myth #9: You should wait until you can choose the exact type of vaccine you’d like.

There is no significant difference between the two available vaccines and both vaccines behave identically. 

Myth #10: I don’t need the vaccine; this will all just go away soon.

Unfortunately, the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 is here to stay. The most effective way to protect your health and that of our community is to get vaccinated when it is your turn.

You may sign up for vaccine email updates and information from the county here.

These next few weeks will be a time of transition for vaccine distribution. Santa Barbara County will be switching to a new sign-up platform and to the new State-run distribution process through Blue Shield. Both will come into effect for Santa Barbara County sometime after March 14.

For more information about local public health orders, guidance, and vaccine distribution in Santa Barbara County, please visit:

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Bob Wilson Mar 10, 2021 08:06 AM
Top 10 Myths about the COVID-19 Vaccine

#1 should have included the fact that the vaccine was developed quickly thanks to the great leadership of President Donald Trump and Operation Warp Speed.

Bob Wilson Mar 11, 2021 07:31 AM
Top 10 Myths about the COVID-19 Vaccine

Yes. Fact. Not myth. President Donald Trump was instrumental in facilitating the development and mass production of the Covid-19 vaccine. The very vaccine that Biden, Harris and Fauci received on national television. Fact!

sbrobert Mar 07, 2021 11:41 AM
Top 10 Myths about the COVID-19 Vaccine

Unfortunately, will not let you register unless you give them a mobile phone number. That makes it impossible for me. Can this problem be fixed?

ChemicalSuperFreak Mar 07, 2021 04:20 AM
Top 10 Myths about the COVID-19 Vaccine


Dr. Ansorg’s response: …..????..... [head explodes]

The phenomena of vaccine associated disease enhancement has been observed with Dengue, Yellow fever, Zika, several coronaviruses, influenza, and HIV (Ref. 1), resulting in numerous failed vaccine trials (Ref. 2). For COVID, the issue is less about how well the vaccine performed in clinical trials against the specific target it was designed against, but rather how those antibodies would perform against a variant that has mutated sufficiently. In that scenario, the vaccine-elicited antibodies may become non-neutralizing and allow the virus to enter the host via the complement pathway, much like a Trojan horse.

(Ref. 1)
(Ref. 2)

Chip of SB Mar 07, 2021 11:14 AM
Top 10 Myths about the COVID-19 Vaccine

Thank goodness the vaccines have been through years or rigorous trials to ensure there is no risk of ADE, no risk to pregnant women, and no long term side effects. I would put a link to the multitude of published studies that prove this, but all I could find was a statement from the CDC saying the vaccines are experimental and have been approved on an emergency basis, there is no data yet, and that pharmaceutical companies have been exempted from all liability.

RockwellBAD2 Mar 05, 2021 09:49 PM
Top 10 Myths about the COVID-19 Vaccine

I appreciate all the discourse and information. But I don’t think anyone can assure me (or any of you) that there are no long term effects of the vaccine. Experts simply don’t know, as far as I can tell. Obviously we are all going to pass on at some time. It comes down to how and hopefully the Covid-19 vaccines don’t end up rearing an ugly contribution to the inevitable. We don’t know.

Channelfog Mar 07, 2021 02:44 AM
Top 10 Myths about the COVID-19 Vaccine

The "expertise" must be carried out for years for it to be science. Rushed trials and zero liability for manufacturers is a recipe for disaster. Someone who is clamoring for a jab can have mine!

Bene Mar 06, 2021 08:01 PM
Top 10 Myths about the COVID-19 Vaccine

I agree with your concern about this in general. But in this particular case I think the expertise is evident. (and vetted by a source.)

Bene Mar 06, 2021 07:31 PM
Top 10 Myths about the COVID-19 Vaccine

I was just thinking that very same thing---that historically, scientific progress has only been achieved by questioning the authorities du jour, and pursing new hypotheses . One doesn't have to ignore the opinions of the experts du jour in order to also consider new input from others who are experts in relevant fields. After all, the "experts du jour" have contradicted each other, maybe purposely misled the public (remember masks do more harm than good) and been wrong so often on this new virus. It is a good thing to do additional research before going into "lock step." I used to do P.R. for more than 150 physicians, and can attest that second opinions are of vital importance to preserve one's health!

MountainMan4865 Mar 05, 2021 10:59 PM
Top 10 Myths about the COVID-19 Vaccine

Very true, and I commend you , in this day and age, to actually voice your opinion. The cards are definitely stacked against those who question, which I (once) thought was the basis of science. There is a lot of information being reported outside of the MSM, and more importantly on the VAERS which would give one a cause for pause. Even so, I understand the level of fear that people are experiencing, and those that choose to get the vaccine, I hope they find some peace in these weird, weird times.

a-1614997096 Mar 05, 2021 06:18 PM
Top 10 Myths about the COVID-19 Vaccine

Dr. A should spend less time issuing saccharine press release platitudes and work to get his house in order. SB County is no shining star in distribution or equity or efficiency. From personal experience I can attest that getting vaccine from SBCPHD is a trek. Friends who have been able to get the vaccine from local pharmacies have much more pleasant experiences. I am told that the county system is somehow related to the state but the pharmacy system is related to the federal distribution. Kudos to Biden's team if so.

ChemicalSuperFreak Mar 05, 2021 05:36 PM
Top 10 Myths about the COVID-19 Vaccine

MYTH #1: “This is very comparable to other vaccines.”

The FDA issued and Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for these vaccines, and as such they ARE NOT technically “approved” for use in the standard sense. It’s a risk versus benefit decision, made during a state of emergency, and provides protection against some liability. For example, Pfizer’s EUA states, “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to permit the emergency use of the unapproved product, Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine”(Ref 1). For what it’s worth, I recommended to both my parents that they get the vaccine, and they did. I’m not against the vaccines, but the use of these technological nucleic acid platforms is unprecedented and should not be dismissed as routine.

MYTH #4: “The approved coronavirus vaccines use messenger RNA, or mRNA.”

Not true. The first vaccines approved are mRNA based. The recently approved Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine uses an adenoviral vector, which is DNA. This vaccine was approved on February 27, 2021. I’m shocked that Ansorg doesn’t know this by now.

MYTH #5: “Getting vaccinated is important for pregnant women and those who are planning to become pregnant in order to protect mom/parents and baby from COVID-19.”

This is a reckless statement. The Pfizer EUA clearly states: “Available data on Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine administered to pregnant women are insufficient to inform vaccine-associated risks in pregnancy”(Ref 1).

MYTH #9: “There is no significant difference between the two available vaccines and both vaccines behave identically.”

Three! Three vaccines! Again, someone needs to point out to Ansorg that the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine is shipping to Californians right now. In fact, one week ago Gov. Newsom tweeted: “NEW: CA is expecting 380,000 doses of the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine as early as next week. We expect that number to increase as supply becomes more available.” (Ref. 2) This news was also covered by several local news outlets.

(Ref. 1)
(Ref. 2)

ChemicalSuperFreak Mar 08, 2021 05:41 AM
Top 10 Myths about the COVID-19 Vaccine

BENE: There's also the off-label use of medications to treat conditions not included in the original "data" resulting from studying the drug for it's initially intended use. There are numerous examples of this.

Bene Mar 08, 2021 04:28 AM
Top 10 Myths about the COVID-19 Vaccine

You say "the data" should inform decisions as if "the data" is some immutable and fixed oracle. My point is that data changes, needs updating, it requires interpretation, and an accepted set of data often is not detailed or comprehensive enough to be applicable to all situations. In my example "The data" that the standard of care is based upon does not allow for individual differences and many times better outcomes are achieved that are not based upon that set of data. Many medication dosages are given based upon "the data," --but only a handful of doctors seem to realize that "the data" often only reflects limited studies done on certain age groups and racial groups--and realizing this, may find a better outcome with a dosage not dictated by "the data."

ChemicalSuperFreak Mar 06, 2021 09:43 PM
Top 10 Myths about the COVID-19 Vaccine

SBSURFERLIFE: The Harvard link you provided actually proved my point. I know that wasn't your intention, but thank you nonetheless. They conclude:

"The mRNA vaccine trials did not deliberately include pregnant or breastfeeding individuals, SO OUR DIRECT KNOWLEDGE IS CURRENTLY LIMITED. Some vaccine trial participants inadvertently became pregnant; 18 of these people received the vaccine. FURTHER INFORMATION MAY BE AVAILABLE IN COMING MONTHS."

Additionally, the CDC did not recommend the vaccine to pregnant women, as you imply. In fact, they reiterated the exact same cautions for pregnant women, something you conveniently forgot to mention:

"People who are pregnant AND PART OF A GROUP RECOMMENDED to receive the COVID-19 vaccine MAY CHOOSE to be vaccinated. If they have questions about getting vaccinated, a discussion with a healthcare provider might help them make an informed decision. There are limited data about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines for people who are pregnant...Limited data are currently available from animal developmental and reproductive toxicity studies."(Ref.)

Therefore they don't know the impact of this vaccine on pregnant women at this time, which is why I included the caution that comes directly from the FDA.


dukemunson Mar 06, 2021 09:27 PM
Top 10 Myths about the COVID-19 Vaccine

CSF has an edhat history of humorous reasoning. I still get a good chuckle out of his assertion that UCSB’s books were balanced and looked good in 2020 because of all the savings associated with less “broiler usage”. A lot of Eloquent nonsense out of our resident know it all...

a-1615092976 Mar 06, 2021 08:56 PM
Top 10 Myths about the COVID-19 Vaccine

Biology is hugely complex, for sure, but your example is one of differing opinions, not a conclusion being determined from data.

Bene Mar 06, 2021 08:48 PM
Top 10 Myths about the COVID-19 Vaccine

Agreed. Data should inform decisions. But the world is not so simple as one set of "the data." I wish it were, but life and medicine is far more complex. Preconceptions have nothing to do with what I am saying. I've worked in the medical field. Data needs interpretation, and the interpretation varies from expert to expert. Just one example from my experience off the top of my head: three medical doctors say data shows a "pic-line" is the only way to deliver intravenous antibiotics. One doctor, one nurse who is the one who inserts and deals with pic-lines on a day to day basis, and one tech who inserts the device say it's not a good idea for some patients in whom it could lead to serious infection. Two other doctors say the intravenous antibios could be delivered by another method and then the course finished out with oral meds. The successful treatment comes from all three methods, all three supported by conflicting data.

a-1615090352 Mar 06, 2021 08:12 PM
Top 10 Myths about the COVID-19 Vaccine

7:49 & 7:56

Dr. Ansorg is a medical doctor an epidemiologist.

Data should inform your decisions, not multiple opinions of which you pick and choose the ones that reinforce your preconceptions, which is exactly what you're doing. Your social media oracle picks and chooses his data based on his political beliefs, as evidenced by the nonsense he has posted on other subjects, and, indeed in his posts about pandemic superspreader events in the past.

Alexblue Mar 06, 2021 07:54 PM
Top 10 Myths about the COVID-19 Vaccine

CSF thanks for your insights.

Now can you please explain your prior comparison of homeless fires somehow having the same impact on butterflies as global deforestation? I’m still not understanding that one and makes it hard to attribute any credibility to your other explanations of how things work in the natural world.

Bene Mar 06, 2021 07:56 PM
Top 10 Myths about the COVID-19 Vaccine

Why be so terrified of someone who actually works with viruses to provide his opinions? People should be intelligent enough to be exposed to multiple opinions and make their own decisions on what to believe and what to discard. You underestimate yourself and other people if you think you must be shielded from all input that does not completely coincide with the opinions of your "expert du jour."

Bene Mar 06, 2021 07:49 PM
Top 10 Myths about the COVID-19 Vaccine

But you said medical doctors. Are you aware that epidemiologists are not physicians? Additionally, Chem said he told his own parents to get the vaccine. The real problem is for anyone to NOT be fully informed about ANYTHING medical. People need to do their own due diligence considering their OWN medical condition and needs. Yes, most of us believe the vaccine is necessary and safe. But, we need to have done our own due diligence to arrive at that (likely correct) decision. Pregnant women should be made aware to investigate if there is anything different about vaccine effects for their specific situation. If one has had allergic reactions to vaccines in the past, that is another thing to consider before going into lockstep.

a-1615086225 Mar 06, 2021 07:03 PM
Top 10 Myths about the COVID-19 Vaccine

Epidemiologists do not generally deal with individual patients. Vaccine hesitance will only prolong this pandemic.

Bene Mar 06, 2021 07:00 PM
Top 10 Myths about the COVID-19 Vaccine

I agree with Chem. You say to trust "experienced medical doctors." But when it comes to this new virus, I'm very interested to hear the opinions of someone who works specifically with viruses, and does/teaches lab work on a daily basis. Physicians focus on patient care based upon the standard of care, which is based upon research that researchers have come up with. Physicians are not research scientists, but rely upon the statistics and studies generated by researchers.

SBsurferlife Mar 06, 2021 05:53 PM
Top 10 Myths about the COVID-19 Vaccine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) agree that the new mRNA COVID-19 vaccines should be offered to pregnant and breastfeeding individuals who are eligible for vaccination. []

ChemicalSuperFreak Mar 06, 2021 05:48 PM
Top 10 Myths about the COVID-19 Vaccine

Your insult directed at chemlab teachers is noted. I have an enormous respect for chemistry teachers. Are you really going insult an entire profession because you personally disagree with me?

For the record, chemists (even chemlab teachers) probably know a lot more about things like immunology, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics than the average MD, particularly an MD who is little more than a bureaucrat. Do you realize that MDs are exposed to such topics for only a few weeks during their education, while chemists spend a career studying such things?

Do you realize after forgetting all of their undergraduate organic chemistry, practicing MDs rely on pharmaceutical industry drug reps on advice for drug prescriptions, of the insistence of a patient who saw a commercial with happy people running though a meadow on a sunny day? This type of ignorance is exactly why the Purdue Pharma scandal occurred. The reps told the MDs that the opiates were safe and non-addictive (despite having chemical structures similar to opium) and the MDs, intentionally unwilling or pathetically unable to do any research on behalf of their patients, bought it---hook, line and sinker.

Have you noticed that many healthcare providers now rely more on NPs, who can also prescribe on behalf of pharma but cost less to employ? Why pay for someone you don’t really need, right? Think about it.

dukemunson Mar 06, 2021 04:19 PM
Top 10 Myths about the COVID-19 Vaccine

I’m still waiting to here your thoughts on Sb county’s total count since feb 2020. I mean You have already stated that Sb public health has accounted for over 90% of positives and had missed at most 3200 total cases in the whole county in the their tally... it’s just such a silly and ridiculous impossibility that it’s hard to look past and take your other comments seriously. The funny/weird thing is that statement directly contradicts your typical posts which lambast Sb public health for how poor of a job they’ve done testing people. You are seemingly playing both sides, bemoaning public health’s efforts while somehow also thinking they’ve tested and directly accounted for over 90% of cases in the county in the past 13 months. Humorously bizarre!!!!!

ChemicalSuperFreak Mar 06, 2021 03:50 PM
Top 10 Myths about the COVID-19 Vaccine

Immunology is a branch of biochemistry. It has little to do with epidemiology. Being able to use vocabulary properly goes a long way to convincing your audience you are credible. Also, I prefer peer-reviewed journals to random *.org websites, any day.

a-1615071513 Mar 06, 2021 02:58 PM
Top 10 Myths about the COVID-19 Vaccine

Let's see. When making a decision on a pandemic issue, should I listen to

A) An experienced medical doctor and epidemiologist.


B) A chemlab teacher doing amateur epidemiology on social media.

Yup, it's a tough choice in the age of alternative facts.

a-1615071225 Mar 06, 2021 02:53 PM
Top 10 Myths about the COVID-19 Vaccine

ChemicalSuperFreak Mar 06, 2021 02:40 PM
Top 10 Myths about the COVID-19 Vaccine

Pointing out that Ansorg's recommendation for pregnant women to take these vaccines is in direct contradiction the FDA's warning, which specifically stated that the data is "insufficient to inform vaccine-associated risks in pregnancy"---is somehow a miniscule correction, mostly semantics, and spreading mistruths? I provided a link to the FDA EUA to back that up, so you can read this yourself. Ansorg's recommendation is reckless, period!

There are risks, which I have estimated are worth taking for most people, which is why I've recommended the vaccine to others in specific groups. I've even advocated vaccinating the farmworkers when many did feel they deserved access. Still, to act like this is just some run of the mill vaccine with several years of proven safety is 100% completely irresponsible. The most responsible thing that someone can do is try and educate others on these risks and let them choose for themselves. Why are you against educating the public? I've even provided a peer-reviewed journal article (Ref.) from possibly the most prestigious journals of all, Nature, which only a science-denier would dismiss. Have you read this article, or FDA EUA? Perhaps you should stay in your own lane.


SBsurferlife Mar 06, 2021 09:12 AM
Top 10 Myths about the COVID-19 Vaccine

CSF, your points are minuscule corrections that are mostly semantics. Look at some of the deleted comments that are already spreading mistruths and a comment like yours only fans the flames to not believe the experts. While you claim to be a scientist, you are not an epidemiologist, infectious disease expert, or public health official. Please stay in your lane.

dukemunson Mar 05, 2021 09:07 PM
Top 10 Myths about the COVID-19 Vaccine

CSF - are you sticking with idea that only 3,200 additional Sb county people have had COVID than are accounted for? So the total of every single person since February of 2020 in Sb county who has had COVID is around 36k? If so... the peanut gallery maintains its position that your love affair with numbers is decidedly one sided.

ChemicalSuperFreak Mar 05, 2021 08:28 PM
Top 10 Myths about the COVID-19 Vaccine

MountainMan, likewise! I appreciate your clarification on the exact week that deaths have occurred, versus the weeks/days they were reported, as well as some of the other data you've been keeping a close eye on. Keep up the great work!

Now...countdown to the obligatory comments on amateur epidemiologists, armchair experts, the peanut gallery, etc. in 3, 2, 1....

ginger1 Mar 05, 2021 01:10 PM
Top 10 Myths about the COVID-19 Vaccine

Myth 7 is not true, or at least not proven in USA studies one way or another. On the other hand, data from countries that have vaccinated most of the population (Israel, UAE and parts of UK) show that absolutely the vaccines prevent transmission of the virus. Just because the data is not from the USA does not mean it is not true.

In any event: the vaccines--any of them--are ****100% successful in preventing hospitalizations for severe disease and death from coronavirus.**** What else more do you need to know?

Why is this FACT not the very first item in his presentation?

a-1614976690 Mar 05, 2021 12:38 PM
Top 10 Myths about the COVID-19 Vaccine

Thank you Dr. Ansorg, these are important points. But, I disagree that "myth" #3 is a myth, the rollout has been abysmal and disproportionate between counties. Some counties are multiple tiers ahead of SB, and other counties are even worse off than SB. There are big reasons they are moving toward Blue Shield controlling distribution.

a-1614969832 Mar 05, 2021 10:43 AM
Top 10 Myths about the COVID-19 Vaccine

Interesting. Dr. Wen on CNN said that vaccinated people can be assured to be safe when together, and that many of these severe restrictions, such as distancing and masks, are not necessary for groups of vaccinated people. If not, why be vaccinating? One problem is that research has not been done, so the medical folks are people super cautious, making all these inconveniences go on and on.


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