Fact vs. fiction: Can the COVID-19 vaccine change your DNA? Is there a microchip?

Fact vs. fiction: Can the COVID-19 vaccine change your DNA? Is there a microchip?

PITTSBURGH — As the race to vaccinate continues, there is a lot of misinformation circulating about the COVID-19 vaccine. So, it can be hard to separate fact from fiction.

11 Investigates’ Angie Moreschi took a look at claims about how the vaccine is made and whether it can track you or change your DNA.

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Can the COVID-19 vaccine change your DNA?

The approved COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna use a new technology called mRNA, which acts like a genetic messenger. It’s never been used before in vaccines.

Basically, mRNA is a short piece of genetic instruction that teaches your body how to make the spike proteins seen on the outside of the coronavirus, which then helps to boost your protection.

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center officials said it does not change your DNA. In fact, it never even enters the part of the cell where your DNA is located.

“What’s amazing about these vaccines is the mRNA, that even the vaccine is gone within hours because it doesn’t last very long. It breaks down very quickly in the body and, in fact, the protein that instructs our bodies may also … doesn’t last for very long. All that’s left is our immune system’s ability to recognize the virus. It’s amazing,” Dr. Graham Snyder, UPMC Medical Director of Infectious Disease, said.

Does the COVID-19 vaccine contain a microchip that can track you?

Videos have been circulating on websites like Facebook for months -- but they are false.

The rumor caught steam after Microsoft founder Bill Gates made a video talking about the mRNA vaccine. He did not say it would have a microchip, but he mentioned in a different forum that he thought “eventually” we could have “digital certificates” to show who got the vaccine.

That was a reference to a type of tattoo technology he’s helping to develop to hold vaccine records. Not microchips.

Both Pfizer and Moderna say unequivocally that there is no microchip in their vaccines.

Do you still need the vaccine if you’ve had COVID-19?

Doctors say you should still get the vaccine because you’ll have better and longer protection, but there is a question of timing.

“We know at least that your immunity from a natural infection is three months, or potentially longer, so you may choose if you’ve been infected to wait a few months before getting the vaccine,” Snyder said.

He said it’s not a good idea to get the vaccine if you still actively have COVID-19. Wait until you’re recovered.

Facts about COVID-19 Vaccines