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“You cannot get COVID from the vaccine”: Health experts answer viewer questions during WECT phone bank

Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 8:53 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - A panel of medical experts from the New Hanover County Department of Health and Human Services answered dozens of questions Wednesday during a phone bank at WECT.

Callers wanted to know everything from whether the vaccine changes your DNA to whether you can get COVID-19 from the vaccine.

Carla Turner, Assistant Director of the NHC Public Health says while it’s rare, you can still get COVID after getting the vaccine, but you can’t get COVID from the vaccine itself.

“What is in the vaccine is a piece of the protein, a form of the protein that, as soon as your body registers that it is in there, it begins making antibodies,” said Turner. “Those antibodies do what they are supposed to do, and they destroy that protein — your body gets rid of it like its supposed to. So, you cannot get COVID from the COVID vaccine. There’s no live COVID virus in the vaccine itself.”

The following are answers provided by the New Hanover County Health Department to the most frequently asked questions:

  • No data supports the notion that the COVID-19 vaccines impact fertility. This is a myth.
  • The COVID-19 vaccine does not change DNA. This is a myth.
  • Getting the COVID-19 vaccine does NOT give you COVID-19. This is a myth.
  • If you had COVID-19, you should still get a COVID-19 vaccine. While you have some natural immunity, it’s unknown how long that will last.
  • If you have questions about which vaccine is best for you, talk to your primary care provider.
  • A booster may be necessary down the road. Research is underway to see if a booster shot would increase the amount of time a person’s immunity lasts.

Local health officials say their hope is that by getting answers to these questions, those who are hesitant about the vaccine will feel more confident about getting the shot.

NHC Health and Human Services Consolidated Agency Director Donna Fayko says while it’s an individual’s choice on whether they get the vaccine, it’s also about protecting others.

“Your mom, your dad, your grandparents, a neighbor — an elderly neighbor. You don’t know if you are asymptomatic and you could unknowingly give the virus to someone else,” said Fayko.

Getting the younger population vaccinated is the greatest challenge right now. Health experts say people 18-45, particularly those who are the youngest and healthiest in that group, are resistant to geting the shot.

David Howard, Director of NHC Public Health, says the percentages of older people now vaccinated is proof the vaccine is working.

“When you look at the 65 and over and 75 and over population, they’re all vaccinated to 75 to 85 percent of their group and we’re not seeing them get severely ill and hospitalized at nearly the rates we saw before because they are so highly vaccinated,” said Howard. “Their percentages are high and that’s evidence — real world evidence in our community — that the vaccine works very well.”

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