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Your Covid-19 questions answered

Can the Covid-19 vaccine alter my DNA?

11 November 2021 - 07:00
The Covid-19 vaccine does not alter the DNA, says the health department.
The Covid-19 vaccine does not alter the DNA, says the health department.
Image: REUTERS/Jon Nazca

The Covid-19 vaccine does not alter DNA. It merely stimulates the body to respond the same way it would if a person got infected, by producing immune cells that can fight Covid-19. 

The Department of Health attributes confusion on the matter to the vaccines using RNA technology to trigger an immune response that enables the body to fight the virus. 

“The vaccine does not work on the DNA of the body. Some people think that because some of the vaccines are made using RNA technology that means the RNA will interact with the DNA. That is not how it works. The technology is simply the way the vaccine is made — not what it will do to the body,” said the department.

What is mRNA and how does it work?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US, mRNA stands for messenger ribonucleic acid and produces the spike protein found on the surface of the virus that causes Covid-19. 

“This triggers our immune system to produce antibodies and activate other immune cells to fight off what it thinks is an infection. This is what your body might do to fight off the infection if you got sick with Covid-19,” it said.

CDC also adds the vaccine does not enter the part of the cell where genetic material is located which means it cannot change or influence a person's genes.