Answering your questions about COVID-19 vaccines*

To stop this pandemic, we need to use all of our prevention tools. Vaccines are one of the most effective tools to protect your health and prevent disease. The COVID-19 vaccine will work with your body’s natural defenses so that your body will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed and studies have shown may help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19. Other steps must still be followed, like wearing a mask that covers your nose and mouth and staying at least 6 feet away from people other than those you live with, to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

These vaccines cannot give you the disease itself.

How do we really know if COVID-19 vaccines are safe?

COVID-19 vaccines were tested in large clinical trials to make sure they meet safety standards. Many people were recruited to participate in these trials to see how the vaccines offer protection to people of different ages, races, and ethnicities, as well as those with different medical conditions. A system is in place across the entire country that allows CDC to watch for safety issues and make sure the vaccines stay safe.

Is the vaccine helpful? I heard getting COVID-19 gives you better and longer immunity than the protection a vaccine can give. Can it actually make my illness worse if I do end up getting COVID-19?

Both this disease and vaccine are new. We don’t know how long protection lasts for those who get infected or those who are vaccinated. What we do know is that COVID-19 has caused very serious illness and death for a lot of people as well as long term health issues for some individuals after recovery from COVID- 19 disease. The vaccine is not a perfect fix, and you will still need to practice other precautions like wearing a mask, social distancing, handwashing and other hygiene measures.

Will the shot hurt? Can it cause you to get very sick? What are some of the possible side effects from the vaccine?

The vaccines may cause side effects in some people, like sore muscles, feeling tired, or mild fever. Some people have reported their arm being sore, red, or warm to the touch and having a headache after receiving their vaccine. These side effects are a sign that your immune system is doing exactly what it is supposed to do.

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