Can COVID-19 vaccines alter my DNA?
No, COVID-19 vaccines do not alter your DNA.
The Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine uses a fragment of messenger RNA (mRNA) to instruct your body to make an immune response against COVID-19.
There is a crucial difference between mRNA and DNA.
DNA, which makes up our genetic code, is larger, double stranded and very long. The mRNA is a single stranded copy of a small part of the DNA, which is often released to send instructions to other parts of the cell.
DNA is stored in the protected centre of our cells – the nucleus. The mRNA is broken down quickly by the body. It never enters the nucleus, and cannot affect or combine with our DNA in any way to change our genetic code.
Instead, COVID-19 mRNA vaccines teach the cell how to make a protein that triggers an immune response specific to COVID-19. The vaccines work with the body’s natural defences to develop immunity to disease.