Is it true? Get the facts on COVID-19 vaccines

Find accurate, evidence-based answers to questions or misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines.

We encourage you to rely on reputable sources of information to help you make informed choices about COVID-19 vaccines.

The answers below can help you make informed decisions – and get information from a trusted source. Our medical advisors provide these answers. 

How do COVID-19 vaccines work?

COVID-19 vaccines work like other vaccines. 

Vaccines help to train your body to recognise and fight against viruses that can cause illness, without giving you the illness itself. 

COVID-19 vaccines help the body recognise and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. They do not contain COVID-19 and you cannot get COVID-19 from having the vaccine. 

Are COVID-19 vaccines safe? 

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) employs the scientists and medical experts who regulate and approve vaccines, medicines and other medical products for use in Australia. The TGA checks all COVID-19 vaccines for quality, safety and effectiveness before approving them for use in Australia. This is the same process that all vaccines go through in Australia. 

Medical experts at the TGA continuously check all vaccines to make sure they are safe. Vaccines are only approved for use in Australia after they have been assessed to show that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh any risks. 

Millions of people around the world have now had COVID-19 vaccines, giving us real evidence and data that support using the vaccines.

Are COVID-19 vaccines effective?

All vaccines approved for use in Australia are effective at stopping people from becoming very sick if they catch COVID-19.

The vaccines have been thoroughly assessed by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and found to be safe and effective. Read more about the vaccine approval process.

Clinical trials and real-world data show that COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at preventing severe illness due to COVID-19.

Do people need all the recommended doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for it to be effective?

To receive the best protection against serious illness or death from COVID-19, you should get all the recommended doses for your age and individual health needs.

Regular COVID-19 vaccine doses are important to maintain this protection. Regular doses help address waning of protection against severe COVID-19.

Check the current recommendations for COVID-19 vaccinations for your age and health needs, including whether you need regular doses.

Do people who have had COVID-19 and recovered need to get vaccinated?

People who have had COVID-19 and recovered should still be vaccinated. 

Hybrid immunity (combined immunity from past infection and past vaccination) leads to a better immune response.

If you have had COVID-19, you do not need to defer other vaccinations – for example, your flu vaccine. But you should not get any vaccine if you are very unwell (for example, if you have a fever).

Do kids need to get vaccinated if they don’t get severely ill from COVID-19?

Vaccination is not recommended for all children, as many do not get severely ill from COVID-19.

Check the current recommendations for COVID-19 vaccinations for your child's age and health needs.

Vaccination in children is effective and safe. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) will not approve a vaccine for use in Australia unless it is safe and effective, including for children.

If your child has had COVID-19

Your child should still have any recommended COVID-19 doses.

If your child has had COVID-19, you do not need to defer other vaccinations – for example, the flu vaccine. But they should not get any vaccine if they are acutely unwell (for example, have a fever).

Were COVID-19 vaccines developed too quickly?

COVID-19 vaccines were developed to be safe. Researchers around the world worked hard together to develop COVID-19 vaccines from the start of the pandemic. The same process was followed as for other vaccines, and no steps were skipped. 

COVID-19 vaccines were developed quickly because of:

  • large amounts of funding invested in research and manufacturing
  • new technology that was available to speed up development
  • researchers, scientists and manufacturers around the world working together
  • some steps of the clinical trials and approval process happening at the same time, instead of one after the other. 

This gave us access to the vaccines as quickly as possible. 

Do the COVID-19 vaccines contain animal products? 

The COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Australia do not contain any animal, meat or egg products.

Do COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility?

None of the COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Australia cause sterility or infertility.

The theory that COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility is based on the disproven idea that one of the spike proteins in COVID-19 and the syncytin-1 protein (which helps placenta development) are the same. They are not.

The COVID-19 vaccine, like other vaccines, works by training our bodies to develop antibodies to fight against the virus that causes COVID-19, to prevent future illness.

There is currently no evidence that antibodies formed from COVID-19 vaccination cause any problems with pregnancy, including the development of the placenta.

People who are trying to become pregnant now or who plan to try in the future may receive any recommended COVID-19 vaccines and doses.

COVID-19 vaccination is safe for women who are breastfeeding and women planning pregnancy.

It is safe to continue breastfeeding before and after your vaccination.

Do COVID-19 vaccines affect menstruation?

 There is evidence of a very small change to menstrual cycles in the month of vaccination.

A large study of women globally found COVID-19 vaccination was associated with a small and temporary change to their menstrual cycle. The women’s menstrual cycle was less than a day longer on average, but there was no change in the length of their period (bleeding). These changes end as soon as the next menstrual cycle after receiving the vaccine.

Heavy menstrual bleeding can potentially occur after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. Most cases are not serious and temporary.

Do COVID-19 vaccines cause autoimmune diseases?

Autoimmune diseases, such as arthritis and multiple sclerosis, are chronic (long-term) illnesses where our immune systems attack our own cells.

There is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 vaccines available in Australia can cause autoimmune diseases.

Do COVID-19 vaccines contain a microchip or any kind of tracking technology?

None of the COVID-19 vaccines that are available or in development contain software or microchips.

They cannot be used to track people.

Can COVID-19 vaccines alter my DNA?

No, COVID-19 vaccines do not alter your DNA.

Some COVID-19 vaccines use 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.

Can COVID-19 vaccines connect me to the internet?

COVID-19 vaccines do not – and cannot – connect you to the internet.

Some of the mRNA vaccines being developed include the use of a material called a hydrogel, which might help disperse the vaccine slowly into our cells.

Bioengineers have used similar hydrogels for many years in different ways. For instance, they’ve used them to help stem cells survive after being put inside our bodies.

Because of this, some people believe that hydrogels are needed for electronic implants, which can connect to the internet.

The COVID-19 vaccines available in Australia do not use hydrogels as a component.

What do faith leaders think about COVID-19 vaccines? 

The COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Australia are permitted by many faith leaders. 

On 22 December 2020, the Vatican supported the use of COVID-19 vaccines. You can read the Vatican’s statement.

The Australian Fatwa Council issued a COVID-19 Vaccine Fatwa on 13 February 2021. The Fatwa was issued after researching and discussing COVID-19 vaccines with trusted and credible Muslim doctors and medical experts. The Fatwa advises Australia’s COVID-19 vaccines are permissible according to the Islamic law.

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