Your COVID-19 Questions Answered. VA is listening to your questions about the COVID-19 vaccine and hosting a blog series on questions from Veterans. Tell us what you think.

I heard that the COVID-19 vaccine contains the live virus, and that I can get COVID-19 from the shot. Is that true?

The COVID-19 vaccine cannot give you a COVID-19 infection because none of the authorized vaccines in the United States contain the live virus. The CDC explains that these vaccines are designed to teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight COVID-19, which can sometimes result in symptoms like fever.

These symptoms are normal and a sign that the body is protecting itself, not a sign of a COVID-19 infection. The COVID-19 vaccine needs time to fully protect you from COVID-19, however, so it is possible to become infected elsewhere before you are fully vaccinated.

Be sure to protect yourself with good health habits even after you have received the COVID-19 vaccine.

I heard that the COVID-19 vaccine will affect my DNA. Is that true?

COVID-19 vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way. According to the CDC, there are two types of vaccines authorized for use in the United States: messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines and viral vector vaccines.

mRNA vaccines, like Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, teach our cells how to make proteins to defend against COVID-19. The mRNA from the vaccine does not enter the nucleus of the cell, where the DNA is stored, so it does not affect DNA.

Viral vector vaccines, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine, use a different, harmless virus to teach our cells how to recognize and protect against COVID-19. The information these vaccines share does not affect DNA. Both types of COVID-19 vaccines teach our bodies how to protect themselves from COVID-19, but neither of them changes or interacts with DNA in any way.

I heard that after getting the COVID-19 vaccine, I’ll test positive on a COVID test. Is that true?

The COVID-19 vaccine will not cause you to test positive on a viral COVID-19 test, which is a test for current COVID-19 infection. It is possible, however, that the COVID-19 vaccine could cause you to test positive on a COVID-19 antibody test.

Antibody tests can show whether you had a previous infection or vaccination, and a positive test means that you may have some level of protection from COVID-19. Experts are studying how receiving the COVID-19 vaccine affects antibody testing results.

Information from the CDC

Keep an eye out for more answers to your COVID-19 and vaccine questions and remember to follow good health habits in the meantime. To keep it simple, follow the three W’s: wear your masks, wash your hands and watch your distance from others!

To learn more, you can review CDC information about COVID-19 and vaccination.

References

Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines | CDC

Myths and Facts about COVID-19 Vaccines | CDC

Dr. Juan P. Casas, a physician epidemiologist at VA Boston, led the study, which called for prioritizing clinical trials of drugs that target two proteins to manage COVID-19 in its early stages.Using genetics, researchers identify potential drugs for early treatment of COVID-19
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27 Comments

  1. Jim McDaniel May 6, 2021 at 10:51 pm

    These comments are only the ones that have not been censored. I made a detailed critique of this article and it didn’t get posted.

  2. C Walters May 6, 2021 at 7:42 pm

    Looks like the VA doesn’t monitor this Q&A (minus the A) section even after clearly implying that we can get our COVID questions answered here! So far, they have ignored all questions and comments. Waste of time except to exchange info between vets. VA failed AGAIN!!!!

  3. Raymond Garcia May 6, 2021 at 5:06 pm

    I have been vaccinated at the Manhattan V.A. Hospital with the Pfizer vaccine. I will be traveling internationally this summer and am wondering if and how I may be able to get the Covid-19 passport documentation?

  4. Sandy Rinehart May 6, 2021 at 3:19 pm

    Do I have a choice as to which vaccine VA will give me? Can I ask to actually see the vial, with name of vaccine on it, before being given the shot?

  5. Charles Roy May 6, 2021 at 8:26 am

    I had an appointment for the vaccine at the Mobile,AL clinic back in April. I went for the appointment, was on time, and checked in at the front desk, and was directed to the room where the shot was being given. When I got to the room I was told that I would have to reschedule (they didn’t say why). So the rescheduled me for the next day. I went to the kiosk and filled out my information for the travel pay, but that was denied because it couldn’t a record of an appointment. I didn’t go back.

    I now have an appointment in the Audio department on May 14 at 1100 and would like to have an appointment for vaccine following that appointment in the PM. If I can’t do that I’ll skip it.

    • C Walters May 6, 2021 at 12:29 pm

      Just about all the pharmacies across the US are giving the vaccination now. Same vaccine. Try one of those out. Most require an online appointment. Easy to make. Last week, even Walmart Pharmacy giving vaccinations.

  6. D Carr May 6, 2021 at 8:16 am

    Why is the VA recommending that everyone get the vaccine, even those who have already had Covid? The immunity someone now has after getting Covid is more effective than a shot.

    • Wayne Zinter May 6, 2021 at 9:31 am

      That is not necessarily true. It might be with some, but not all. Get the shot and be safe.

  7. Hector Figueroa May 6, 2021 at 2:42 am

    The aim of the V.A. was to simplify obtaining travel pay by going on line. Good idea, bad results! I try to facilitate their request but for unknown reason, the system does not allow my entry. Sometimes I just give up and let them keep the gas money.

    Should other veterans do the same at $26.00 per month, it would save the V.A. $26,000.00 per month. You can do the math going forward.

    Food for thought.. have you had to forfeit any monies?

  8. Ron Bjorklund May 6, 2021 at 1:13 am

    I got second dose of Pfizer vaccine yesterday and today the whole top of my back feels like I did a lot of working out yesterday with sore muscles. Is this one of the side affects from the shot. If so how long will it last?

    • C Walters May 6, 2021 at 12:24 pm

      Was for me – rib muscles were a bit sore for about 24 hours. Sore arm and rib muscles was about it. Last dose in March. No other issues. CDC says that is good sign antibodies doing their thing.

  9. Cal Lee Davis May 6, 2021 at 12:41 am

    I received my first Injection at the Baton Rouge, La. Outpatient clinic, one thing I noticed was that when a few ppl heard the the staff say, “the FDA has not approved these vaccines” the unvaccinated became panicked and refused the injection, but the the staff went on to say, none of the Covid-19 vaccines have been approved by the FDA, these vaccines are approved for emergency use.”

  10. C Walters May 5, 2021 at 10:35 pm

    Does the COVID mRNA vaccine interfere with prior vaccinations such as Zoster (shingles)? Wife and I had Zoster 7 months ago. We completed Moderna series 6 weeks ago. This week we both broke out with shingles. Not as painful as in the past, but more widespread. Saw in another blog that others have had the same experience related to shingles outbreak after receiving mRNA vaccination. Hopefully this is being tracked. Should be be re-vaccinated with Zoster series or booster if there is a connection?

  11. Charles Walters May 5, 2021 at 10:28 pm

    Question: Wife and I completed both injections of the Moderna vaccine 6 weeks ago. 7 months ago we completed the Zoster vaccine for Shingles. This week both of us broke out with shingles – not as painful as before the Zoster but some pin point pain with itch. Is there any reports of the Moderna interfering with with other vaccines such as Zoster? I have heard of others reporting cases of shingles after the COVID vaccines administered. Until now, zero issues with shingles.

  12. US Army May 5, 2021 at 9:48 pm

    VA is killing Veterans!!!

  13. Katherine Delk-Calkins May 5, 2021 at 7:41 pm

    I will always be grateful to the Kansas City VA who administered Covid vaccine to my husband and I ((ANC/AF ) Jan 21/Feb11 several weeks earlier than any other sites for seniors in our area . The sign up by telephone was easy and the vaccines were given quickly easily and safely by cheerful staff ! Thank you VA for helping to keep Vets healthy !

  14. Katherine Delk-Calkins May 5, 2021 at 7:35 pm

    I will always be grateful to The Kansas City VA Hospital for providing my husband and I (ANC/AF) the Covid vaccine Jan 21((and 2nd shot too) several weeks earlier than it was offered to other seniors in our area . Sign up was so easy by telephone and the vaccination was quickly efficiently and safely administered . What a gift to Vets !!! Thank you !

  15. Jack C Nicolas May 4, 2021 at 12:22 pm

    Please stop reinforcing vets to wear mask in your facility especially they have reasonable such as trouble breathing due to condition (ie. asthma, panic attack, etc…). It’s against to dictate while they’re exercising their rights.

    Yes I fully understand for your protection not only facility, also your staff & patients but again please allow them to exercise their wellness & rights. You can tell to don a mask as recommendation but reinforcement is not healthy. This is why I’m losing your trust.

    • Fred Crowder May 5, 2021 at 9:00 pm

      It is required by federal law for everyone. Same as YSIs. Ifbyou don’t come into a mask, you cannit cime in!

      • Fred Crowder May 5, 2021 at 9:07 pm

        Sorry for spelling errors. Masks are required by Federal law. Same as USOs, no mask, no coming in!!!! You have to remember that there are other vets besides yourself as well as staff.

        • James Garrison May 6, 2021 at 8:29 pm

          Not law.
          Stop spreading bullcrap. Masks are not law. They are required by executive orders.
          Congress and the house did not pass anything.

        • Disgruntled Veteran May 7, 2021 at 12:06 am

          It’s discrimination to not allow veterans to see their doctor because they can’t wear a mask due to disabilities incurred in the service.

  16. Gary Funk May 3, 2021 at 11:53 pm

    I was given the J&J vaccine at the V.A.

  17. Hugh Gordon Ross April 29, 2021 at 8:37 pm

    Our illustrious past president, Mr. Trump told me ……

    And that’s why this article is necessary. He lied.

    • Thomas McWilliams May 27, 2021 at 6:50 pm

      About what? Be specific.

  18. Arlin Chang April 29, 2021 at 10:55 am

    I got my 1st vaccine at a VA facility in Washington State, because I was denied a shot in the Las Vegas VA. I then came back to Las Vegas and was again denied for my 2nd dose. Las Vegas VA was so unhelpful, and so rude, I left. All this because of ????. VA says if you get a vaccine it will be at the same VA or nothing at all. No common sense for some of these workers. I am a traveling vet. After this stunt by the VA, I am done with them.

    • A Combs May 5, 2021 at 12:48 pm

      Don’t give up on the VA. Just because the Vegas VA personnel were rude shouldn’t mark all facilities as unhelpful. You just said WA state was fine, and I can tell you Fargo VA is great. Also, anyone over the age of 16 should be able to get the vaccine from any community clinic and most pharmacies regardless of where you reside (as long as they have it in stock). This may change in the future but for now (May 2021) it’s a fairly simple process.

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