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VERIFY: Common COVID-19 vaccine questions

Many want to know about the vaccine and fertility, whether those infected really need the shot, and whether you can take pain relievers after vaccination.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Verify team continues to answer questions and look into claims about the COVID-19 vaccines. Months after the vaccine rollout began, there are some persistent topics.

Here's a round-up of some of the common questions the Verify team still receives.

THE SOURCES

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Dr. David Priest, an infectious disease specialist with Novant Health

QUESTION 1

Are there fertility problems linked to the COVID-19 vaccines?

ANSWER

Our sources say this one is false.

Priest states myths about fertility problems following vaccination stem from a claim about vaccinated people shedding the virus's spike protein.

"Essentially, people are inaccurately saying and unfortunately believing that people who have had the vaccine can shed the spike protein and that this causes menstrual cycle irregularities, miscarriages, and sterility in women," Priest said. "That's simply not true. There's no evidence to support that myth."

The CDC states, "If you are trying to become pregnant now or want to get pregnant in the future, you can receive a COVID-19 vaccine. There is currently no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems—problems trying to get pregnant."

Not only is there no research to show the vaccines cause fertility problems or sterility, but there is also some evidence to the contrary.

"We know in the Pfizer trials, women became pregnant during those studies, and there wasn't a single report of pregnancy loss in anyone who got the real vaccine. There was one pregnancy loss in a person who got the placebo," Priest said.

Read more about fertility and the COVID-19 vaccines here. 

QUESTION 2

Does someone who already had COVID-19 need to get the shot?

ANSWER

People who had a COVID-19 infection should still get vaccinated.

While anyone who gets the virus will also get antibodies that protect them from reinfection, experts still do not know how strong that protection is. They also don't know how long it lasts.

“We know that getting COVID and having natural immunity is not as consistent as vaccination,” Dr. David Priest with Novant Health said.

In fact, there have already been documented cases of people getting infected twice. One recent high-profile example is Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, who was infected twice in an eight-month period.

Read more about COVID-19 antibodies here.

QUESTION 3

Can you take over-the-counter pain relievers after vaccination?

ANSWER

Yes, pain relievers after the shot to combat any uncomfortable side effects are OK. 

Doctors say what you should try to avoid is pain relievers before the shot. That is because doctors do not know how that might impact the effectiveness of the vaccine.

Read more about taking medication around vaccination here.

Contact Vanessa Ruffes at vruffes@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram  

VERIFY is dedicated to helping the public distinguish between true and false information. The VERIFY team, with help from questions submitted by the audience, tracks the spread of stories or claims that need clarification or correction. Have something you want VERIFIED? Text us at 704-329-3600 or visit /verify.