Separating COVID-19 fact from fiction


Mayo Clinic

By DeeDee Stiepan

Information about the COVID-19 pandemic is ever-evolving, and it can be difficult to keep track of what’s fact and what’s fiction. Mayo Clinic experts will continue to be a reliable resource for the latest, credible COVID-19 information.

Watch: Dr. Abinash Virk separates COVID-19 facts from fiction.

Dr. Abinash Virk, a Mayo Clinic infectious diseases expert, responds to some of the COVID-19 vaccine and booster claims you may be hearing:

FALSE: Natural immunity is safer than immunity from the COVID-19 vaccine.

“That is completely false because natural immunity will also come with the risk of getting the complications of COVID-19,” says Dr. Virk. “We’ve seen healthy patients in our hospitals who are in the hospital on a ventilator, and many have died. So that’s not the way to get your protection. It’s better to get that protection through getting the vaccine rather than taking the chance with COVID-19 and its various forms.”

FALSE: COVID-19 cases in vaccinated people mean the vaccine doesn’t work.

“The reason why that’s not true is that there is no vaccine that’s 100% ― that protects everything, preventing infection, preventing transmission, preventing asymptomatic disease. We don’t really have something that’s that effective. However, as we look at these COVID-19 vaccines, these vaccines are amazing,” says Dr. Virk. “There will be some breakthrough infections. There will be some people who will break through and have that infection ― immunocompromised people or elderly who don’t make very good antibody levels ― but it’s still a very effective vaccine and has remained very effective, particularly in preventing severe disease, hospitalizations and death, which is a really important part of this whole disease.”

FACT: COVID-19 vaccines are safe.

“COVID-19 vaccines are safe. We know that through the clinical trials, and those clinical trials were massive, compared to some of the other medications that have smaller numbers in the clinical trials. So we know they’re safe. Since the vaccines have had emergency use authorization, and also the full authorization for the Pfizer vaccine, we’ve had millions of individuals in the United States who have received this vaccine, and billions within the world as a whole. And based on all this collective information that we are getting through all these people who’ve had the vaccine, it is clear that these vaccines are extremely safe.”

Mayo Clinic and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourage you to talk to your health care providers about COVID-19 vaccines and clear up the misinformation about these potentially lifesaving shots.