Benefits of Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine
We understand that some people may be concerned about getting vaccinated once a COVID-19 vaccine is available in the United States. While these vaccines are being developed as quickly as possible, routine processes and procedures remain in place to ensure the safety of any vaccine that is authorized or approved for use. Safety is a top priority, and there are many reasons to get vaccinated.
Below is a summary of the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination based on what we currently know.
COVID-19 vaccination will help keep you from getting COVID-19
- COVID-19 vaccines are being carefully evaluated in clinical trials and will be authorized or approved only if they make it substantially less likely you’ll get COVID-19.
- Based on what we know about vaccines for other diseases, experts believe that getting a COVID-19 vaccine may help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19.
- Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you, particularly people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
- Experts continue to conduct more studies about the effect of COVID-19 vaccination on severity of illness from COVID-19, as well as its ability to keep people from spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.
COVID-19 vaccination will be a safer way to help build protection
- COVID-19 can have serious, life-threatening complications, and there is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you. And if you get sick, you could spread the disease to friends, family, and others around you.
- Clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines must first show they are safe and effective before any vaccine can be authorized or approved for use. The known and potential benefits of a COVID-19 vaccine must outweigh the known and potential risks of the vaccine for use under what is known as an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Watch a video on what an EUA is.
- Getting COVID-19 may offer some natural protection, known as immunity. But experts don’t know how long this protection lasts, and the risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 far outweighs any benefits of natural immunity. COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you by creating an antibody response without having to experience sickness.
- Both natural immunity and immunity produced by a vaccine are important aspects of COVID-19 that experts are trying to learn more about, and CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available.
COVID-19 vaccination will be an important tool to help stop the pandemic
- Wearing masks and social distancing help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others, but these measures are not enough. Vaccines will work with your immune system so it will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed.
- The combination of getting vaccinated and following CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19.
- Stopping a pandemic requires using all the tools we have available. As experts learn more about how COVID-19 vaccination may help reduce spread of the disease in communities, CDC will continue to update the recommendations to protect communities using the latest science.
Planning for a Vaccine
Currently, three vaccines are authorized and recommended to prevent COVID-19 in the United States. Supplies will increase over time. The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as large quantities are available. However, a COVID-19 vaccine may not be available for young children until more studies are completed.
The federal government will oversee a centralized system to order, distribute, and track COVID-19 vaccines. All vaccines will be ordered through CDC. Vaccine providers will receive vaccines from CDC’s centralized distributor or directly from a vaccine manufacturer.
Three vaccines are authorized and recommended to prevent COVID-19 in the United States, other COVID-19 vaccine candidates are in development, and clinical trials are being conducted at the same time with large-scale manufacturing. With first doses now available, planning and preparing for a COVID-19 vaccination program is very important.
Planning efforts have focused on every step and detail of the process, including:
- Establishing and testing logistics plans with manufacturers and commercial partners that are part of CDC’s centralized COVID-19 vaccine delivery system
- Coordinating the first distribution of vaccines and needed supplies from centralized locations
- Ordering processes for additional doses of the vaccine after the first supply has been shipped
- Receiving, storing, and handling vaccines properly at very specific temperatures
- Deciding who should receive a vaccine first, based on national and state recommendations, if there are not enough doses of the vaccine for everyone
- Giving the vaccines in a safe way during an ongoing pandemic
- Reporting on vaccine inventory, administration, and safety using a variety of new and enhanced data systems
- Expanding safety surveillance through new systems and additional information sources, as well as scaling up existing safety monitoring systems
- Developing plans to assess vaccine effectiveness, which means how well the vaccines protect against COVID-19 under real-life conditions
- Making sure timely, credible, and clear communication is provided to the public and stakeholders around all aspects of the vaccination program
This situation continues to change, and planning will progress as more information about any authorized or approved vaccines becomes available. A safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is a critical component of the U.S. strategy to reduce COVID-19-related illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths and to help society function as it did before COVID-19. The goal of the U.S. government is to have enough COVID-19 vaccine doses for all people in the United States who choose to be vaccinated.
Currently, three vaccines are authorized and recommended to prevent COVID-19 in the United States. To help guide decisions about how to distribute limited initial supplies of COVID-19 vaccine, CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices have published recommendations for which groups should be vaccinated first. The California Department of Public Health also has its own list of priorities. It is understandable how concerning this would be for people, especially for those who are at increased risk for serious illness from this virus and for their loved ones.
That is why, early in the response, the federal government began investing in select vaccine manufacturers to help them increase their ability to quickly make and distribute a large amount of COVID-19 vaccine. This will allow the United States to start with as much vaccine as possible and continually increase the supply in the weeks and months to follow. The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as large quantities are available. Several thousand vaccination providers will be available, including doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals and federally qualified health centers.
Has there been a coronavirus vaccine developed before? What is known about it and can it be helpful today in working toward a COVID-19 vaccine?
Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) are two diseases caused by coronaviruses that are closely related to the virus that causes COVID-19. Researchers began working on developing vaccines for these diseases after they were discovered in 2003 and 2012, respectively. None of the SARS vaccines ever made it past the first stages of development and testing, in large part due to lack of interest because the virus disappeared. One MERS vaccine (MVA-MERS-S) successfully completed a phase 1 clinical trial in 2019. Lessons learned from this earlier vaccine research have been used to inform strategies for developing a COVID-19 vaccine.