How This Ends:

COVID-19 Vaccination

Effective COVID-19 vaccines have been developed and the biggest vaccination campaign in history has begun. An end to the pandemic is in sight. Here's what you need to know about the safety, efficacy, and distribution of the vaccine, and what this means for next steps.

About the Vaccine

Vaccine Rollout

  1. Two vaccines are currently approved for use in the US: Moderna and Pfizer, both of which have comparable efficacy and safety profiles
  2. Supplies are currently limited, but will increase in the weeks and months to come
  3. To decrease death and disease, healthcare personnel, people with underlying medical conditions, and older adults are being prioritized for early vaccination
  4. Each state determines its priority list for vaccination
  5. It is projected that all adults will have access to the vaccine by mid-to-late 2021
  6. Until enough people are vaccinated, everyone will need to continue wear masks and practice social distancing
  7. The vaccine will be given at no cost

How it Works

  1. A vaccine stimulates your immune system to produce antibodies, exactly like it would if you were exposed to the disease
  2. The COVID-19 vaccine gives instructions (mRNA) for our cells to make the a protein found on the surface of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19
  3. After these instructions (mRNA) are used, they are broken down and eliminated
  4. The vaccine does not use live virus and cannot give you COVID-19
  5. Two doses of the vaccine are given about one month apart. One dose does not provide adequate immunity
  6. Pfizer and Moderna vaccines provide 95% protection about one week after the second dose
  7. It is unclear at this time if a vaccinated person can still spread the virus

Safety

  1. Expect to have some temporary side effects, similar to after a flu vaccine
  2. Mild symptoms are common and are evidence of the desired immune response
  3. Common side effects include soreness at the site of injection, fatigue, body aches, and fever
  4. Severe allergic reactions are very rare

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Frequently Asked Questions: COVID-19 Vaccination

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Q.

How effective are the available COVID-19 vaccines?

A.

The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are both about 95% effective after two doses. It is unclear, however, if vaccination prevents transmission of the virus, so it is important to continue to wear masks and practice social distancing.

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Q.

Are the vaccines safe?

A.

Both vaccines have passed rigorous safety reviews by the FDA. Side effects of general discomfort, pain at the injection site, and fevers are common and are evidence of the desired immune response. Serious adverse effects are quite rare, and the risk of these effects is far outweighed by the risk of COVID-19 infection.

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Q.

When will I be able to get vaccinated?

A.

This depends on a number of factors, including your age, disease risk factors, and employment. It is left to individual states to determine how to most effectively prioritize vaccinations. Check out this Vaccine Allocation Planner Tool to get an idea of how many people may be vaccinated before you in your area.

Q.

How will I know when it's my turn?

A.

Healthcare providers as well as local and state governments should find ways to notify you and members of your family when they're eligible for vaccination.

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Q.

If I've already had COVID-19 infection, do I need to get vaccinated?

A.

There is no official recommendation from the CDC regarding vaccination for those who have recovered from COVID-19 infection. Evidence so far suggests that natural immunity may not last very long, but more studies are needed to better understand this.

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