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Will the vaccine give me COVID?

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


Gina Gregory-Burns, MD, explains that the COVID vaccines do not use a live virus and cannot give you COVID.


So the big answer is no. And the reason being is we are not injecting the virus into your body. What these two vaccines do – the two different companies manufacturers – are injecting, what we call mRNA – messenger RNA – it’s a little bit of genetic material into your body.

Your body then recognizes that as something foreign and develops what we call antibodies or warriors against that mRNA. That way those warriors will come stay in your body. And the next time that you are exposed to the real virus out in the real world, after you’ve had both injections, after your body has had an appropriate immune response, then in the future, when your body’s exposed to the real virus, it will recognize a little tiny bit of genetic material and bring out even more warriors or antibodies and fight off the virus. And that’s how we get 94% efficacy or safety against the virus.

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.