SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Today’s Why Guy question from Mike Jensen on Facebook, who asks, "Why hasn't this been explained. I've always heard that when you get a vaccine, it actually gives you a small case of whatever virus you're trying to immune yourself against. If that is true, when a person gets the COVID-19 vaccine, will they be contagious to others that have not yet had the virus? Particularly in the same household?"
Mike, great question! Several pharmaceutical companies are preparing to roll out vaccines within weeks, perhaps as early as by the end of December. And while flu shots are made up of dead viruses and cannot actually give you the flu, you may get mild flu symptoms.
For the coronavirus vaccine, ABC10 medical expert Dr. Payal Kohli said the top three candidates don't have a live form of the virus in their vaccines.
"These vaccines can not give you the infection," Kohli said.
That said, a recent Harris poll showed that 42% of Americans say they won't get the vaccine when it comes out. Some feel it's too rushed and hasn't been tested long-term.
"Some people do feel under the weather after getting the vaccine, but this is just your body mounting an immune response and does not reflect a COVID-19 infection," Kohli said.
According to Roseville Physician Dr. Tom Hopkins, the worse thing that could happen after getting the vaccine, "is having an allergic reaction that could be associated with pain, anaphylaxis, then death."
"However, none of these have occurred in clinical trials that we know. The benefits of shots outweigh the risks. The shot is highly unlikely to kill you but COVID-19 can," Hopkins said.
Extended Interview: Sacramento health official talks how ready Sacramento is for a vaccine