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
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.