Are the vaccines safe? (Updated*)

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna

Because it is not a live vaccine, you cannot get COVID-19 from the mRNA vaccines. Also, they do not enter the nucleus of the cell and therefore cannot alter your genes. During the trials, there were no reported serious side effects from these two vaccines. Since becoming available to the first priority groups, there have been rare reports of allergic reactions/other serious adverse events with millions of doses given.

Johnson & Johnson

The Johnson and Johnson (Janssen) vaccine is a one dose, adenovirus-based vaccine. Researchers genetically altered a weakened version of a common cold virus (adenovirus) that causes infections in so it carried a gene for the COVID-19 spike protein; this will train a person’s immune system to recognize the real coronavirus. You cannot get COVID-19 from this vaccine. During clinical trial, this vaccine was well tolerated. Serious adverse events, excluding those related to confirmed COVID-19, were reported by 0.4% (n=83) of individuals who received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine (N= 21,895) and 0.4% (n=96) of individuals who received placebo (N= 21,888).

These vaccines were given emergency use authorizations by the FDA, and their approval process also included public and independent review from members of the agency’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee.

Adverse events are being tracked and all participants are asked to report side effects through the CDC V-safe smartphone tool. Vaccine providers are required to report vaccine-related adverse events to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).


Updated: March 1, 2021