Can the COVID-19 vaccine make you sick? If you haven't had your first shot and have questions about this new immunization or have concerns about whether the shot could give you COVID-19 or not, take a look at what you need to know about this potentially life-saving vaccine.

Does the Vaccine Contain the Covid Virus? 

Different vaccines work in different ways. Live, attenuated vaccines that are used to protect people against illnesses such as chickenpox, mumps, measles, and rubella contained a weakened version of the living virus. Inactivated vaccines also contain the virus the immunization fights. But, as the name implies, these vaccinations only contain inactivated (or nonliving) microorganisms. 

Unlike live, attenuated, and inactivated vaccines, COVID-19 vaccines don't contain the COVID-19 virus. This means it's impossible for the immunization to cause a COVID-19 infection. If a friend, co-worker, family member, or anyone else you know insists they tested positive after getting their shot, it wasn't the vaccine at fault. 

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you are only fully vaccinated two weeks after getting your second mRNA or single one-shot vaccine. Your body mounts an immune response to the vaccine. But this doesn't mean you're protected right away. It can take up to two weeks for your body to build the protection it needs. If you come into contact with the COVID-19 virus during this time, it is still possible to get sick. The vaccine did not give you the virus. Instead, the infection means you were exposed to COVID-19 before your body could develop immunity to it. 

What Does the Vaccine Contain?

Again, some commonly used vaccines contain the virus they protect you against. But the COVID-19 shot doesn't. If this vaccine isn't made with the COVID-19 virus, what does it contain?

There are two primary types of vaccines that protect against COVID-19 infections authorized for use in the United States: mRNA and vector vaccines. An mRNA vaccine contains materials from the virus—but not the actual virus itself. These materials give your body's cells instructions on how to make a protein that triggers an immune response. In other words, the vaccine teaches your body how to create antibodies and fight off a COVID-19 infection. 

The second type of vaccine is a vector variety. This single-shot vaccine uses a modified version of another virus to teach your body how to make immunity to Covid. Even though it uses a different method than the mRNA vaccine, it also helps to protect you against infection. 

To learn more about COVID-19 vaccines and what to expect after your immunization, talk to your medical provider. A healthcare professional can review the possible side effects and explain how the vaccine may affect you.