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No, COVID-19 vaccines or boosters will not cause you to test positive on a test

We can verify that the idea a COVID-19 booster shot will cause you to test positive on a PCR or rapid test is false.

ATLANTA — 11Alive viewer Henry Goodman is planning to travel abroad and wanted to know if getting his COVID-19 booster shot could put the required COVID-19 test he has to take in jeopardy. Our VERIFY team looked into this for him. 

THE QUESTION

Can a COVID-19 booster shot produce a positive reading on a PCR or rapid test?

THE SOURCES

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

Dr. Jayne Morgan, Executive Director of the COVID Task Force at Piedmont Healthcare

THE ANSWER

This is false.

No, none of the authorized COIVD-19 vaccines or booster shots will cause someone to test positive on viral tests like a PCR or rapid test.

WHAT WE FOUND

This question has popped up before. In fact, the CDC's myth busters page clearly verifies that none of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines will cause you to test positive on viral tests.

According to Dr. Morgan, such tests, which include PCR or rapid tests, are used to see if you have a current infection by checking for the active virus.

Dr. Morgan also reiterated that the vaccines do not contain the virus itself.

"None of the vaccines currently authorized for use in the United States of America can cause a positive result in a viral test. Viral tests are used to check for active infection caused by SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-9)," she said. "The vaccines do not cause an active infection, do not cause Covid-19, and do not give anyone the COVID-19 disease. Therefore, none of these viral tests will be positive because of vaccination."

According to Dr. Morgan, the same holds true for booster shows, which are identical formulas to the initial vaccines. 

"The booster doses are the identical formulation of the primary or initial series of immunizations. They are not different. The only change is with the Moderna booster that is a decrease in dose and volume, but not formulation," she said. 

So Henry, we can verify that the idea a COVID-19 booster shot will cause you to test positive on a PCR or rapid test is false.

But keep in mind that COVID-19 breakthrough infections are still possible, and becoming infected would produce a positive test result.