Will a COVID-19 vaccine alter my DNA?
No. COVID-19 vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way.
There are currently two types of COVID-19 vaccines that have been authorized for use in the United States: messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines and viral vector vaccines.
The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are mRNA vaccines, which teach our cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response. The mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept. This means the mRNA cannot affect or interact with our DNA in any way. Instead, COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to disease. Learn more about how COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work.
Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine is a viral vector vaccine. Viral vector vaccines use a modified version of a different, harmless virus (the vector) to deliver important instructions to our cells to start building protection. The instructions are delivered in the form of genetic material. This material does not integrate into a person’s DNA. These instructions tell the cell to produce a harmless piece of virus that causes COVID-19. This is a spike protein and is only found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19. This triggers our immune system to recognize the virus that causes COVID-19 and to begin producing antibodies and activating other immune cells to fight off what it thinks is an infection. Learn more about how viral vector vaccines work.
At the end of the process, our bodies have learned how to protect against future infection from COVID-19. That immune response and the antibodies that our bodies make protect us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.
Is it safe for me to get a COVID-19 vaccine if I would like to have a baby one day?
Yes. If you are trying to become pregnant now or want to get pregnant in the future, you may receive a COVID-19 vaccine when one is available to you.
There is currently no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination causes any problems with pregnancy, including the development of the placenta. In addition, there is no evidence that fertility problems are a side effect of any vaccine, including COVID-19 vaccines.
Like all vaccines, scientists are studying COVID-19 vaccines carefully for side effects now and will continue to study them for many years.