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Do the COVID vaccines use a live virus?

Health care workers answer questions about the COVID-19 vaccines.

Jason Villareal, MSN, RN, NP-BC explains that the COVID vaccines do not use a live virus and cannot give you COVID.

This vaccine is not a live virus. It’s not a live vaccine, so it’s not possible to actually give somebody COVID. And basically, it’s putting something into your body that kind of makes your body think it’s COVID. It’s a particular protein. It’s to create an antibody to a particular protein that the actual COVID virus itself has. So that when it sees the real thing, it would react the same way as if it was this vaccine. And so, it doesn’t actually have virus in it.

This information is shared for educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. The views expressed are those of the featured medical professional and reflect information available to that professional at time of filming. Always consult a health care provider for any personal health decisions. Click here for vaccine FAQs from the CDC.

Stay up to date with your COVID vaccine, including boosters!

COVID vaccines are safe and effective for everyone ages 6 months and older.

Immunity wanes over time. Keep up your protection against COVID by getting boosted when eligible.

Updated (bivalent) boosters are now available for adults and children 6 months and older.