Myth Vs Fact: Can COVID-19 vaccines alter your DNA?

As millions of people around the world are now receiving COVID-19 vaccines, but still there are some people who are reluctant to get the jab. The major reason behind these people being disinclined towards getting a vaccine shot is the misinformation surrounding the COVID-19 vaccines. One of the myths that is doing rounds on the internet around the coronavirus vaccine is that it irreversibly changes the DNA of an individual.

These myths are related to the mRNA (messenger-RNA) vaccines as many believe that these vaccines use the genetic approach. Two of the COVID-19 vaccines: Pfizer-BioNTech’s BNT162b2 and Moderna’s mRNA-1273 that have been authorised and recommended for use in the United States are m-RNA vaccines.

These mRNA vaccines basically contain molecular instructions that ask the cells in the human body to create a harmless protein similar to the spike protein on the surface of the coronavirus. In this way, the vaccine will help a person’s immune system recognise the actual virus and will ultimately try to eliminate it.

(Photo credit: University of Waterloo)

It should be remembered that the mRNA in no way can enter the nucleus of the cells where DNA resides. Also, the m-RNA after delivering its instructions to the cells to build protection against the virus that causes COVID-19, starts to break down.

The mRNA vaccines in a way try to teach the cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response specific to COVID-19. The vaccines just work with the body’s natural defences to develop immunity to disease.

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