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COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and recommended for everyone 12 years of age and older.

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Questions about COVID-19 vaccines? Get information to make a decision that’s right for you. | ¿Tiene preguntas acerca de las vacunas contra COVID-19?

Vaccine Safety

How do we know COVID-19 vaccines are safe?

These vaccines have undergone the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. Vaccines are authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which sets strict standards for clinical trials. The FDA continues to monitor vaccines very closely for safety.

How are vaccines tested for safety?

Every vaccine must go through rigorous testing and inspection to ensure it is safe. Vaccines for COVID-19 followed a 3-phase process where there are several stages required before FDA authorization. After a vaccine is authorized by the FDA and made available to the public, FDA continues to monitor its safety very closely.

How were the vaccines made so quickly?

The science behind the breakthrough had a head start. Researchers had already made progress developing vaccines for other types of coronaviruses. The rapid spread of COVID-19 made developing these vaccines an international priority, unlocking billions of dollars in funding to ensure safety while moving with urgency to save lives.

Do vaccines impact fertility?

There is currently no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems. If you are trying to become pregnant now or want to get pregnant in the future, you may receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

Should I worry about long term side effects?

Serious side effects that would cause a long-term health problem are extremely unlikely. There has never been a ‘long-term’ vaccine side effect that emerged more than a few months after administration of a vaccine. Thousands of people were initially vaccinated over a year ago and no new long-term side effects have been detected. Serious side effects that would cause a long-term health problem are extremely unlikely.

Vaccine Efficacy

How do the COVID-19 vaccines protect me?

When we get a vaccine, it activates our immune response. The vaccine helps our bodies learn to fight off the virus. COVID-19 vaccines provide significant protection against serious illness and hospitalization.

What are the benefits to getting vaccinated?

COVID-19 vaccines protect against getting sick from COVID-19. They provide significant protection against serious illness and death. Studies show vaccines provide protection against variants such as the Delta variant.

Should I get a vaccine if I had COVID-19?

Yes, health experts recommend getting vaccinated regardless of whether you have already had COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible (although rare) that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again. If you’ve had COVID-19 in the past 90 days, talk to your doctor about when you should get vaccinated.

Wearing a Mask

Should I still wear a mask once I’m vaccinated?

If you are fully vaccinated, you can start to safely resume many activities. However, with the more contagious Delta variant circulating across the United States, health experts are encouraging all people to wear a mask indoors in public. This will maximize protection against the Delta variant and prevent spread.

I’m not yet fully vaccinated. Should I wear a mask?

Yes. It’s best to keep taking all precautions until you are fully vaccinated, which is 2 weeks after your final vaccine dose. This includes continuing to wear a mask, washing your hands frequently with soap and water, and staying 6 feet apart from others who don’t live with you. Taking these precautions help to protect yourself and others.

Vaccine Access

How much does it cost?

There is no cost to getting vaccinated against COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccines are provided at 100% no cost to recipients. The federal government is providing the vaccine free of charge to all people living in the United States, regardless of their immigration or health insurance status.

What type of vaccine will I get?

Currently, three types of vaccines authorized for use in the United States: Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. At this time, children and teens aged 12 and up are eligible to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, but those younger than 12 years of age are not. Those receiving the Johnson & Johnson and Moderna vaccine must be 18 or older. Every vaccine that is recommended by FDA and CDC has been thoroughly tested and found to be effective and safe.

How old do I need to be to get vaccinated?

In the United States, everyone aged 12 and over is currently eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines.

The Delta Variant

Do the vaccines protect against the Delta variant?

The Delta variant has been categorized as a variant of concern. It has led to a sharp rise in cases, particularly in areas with low vaccination rates. So far, studies suggest that all vaccines authorized for use in the United States are effective against known variants, including the Delta variant.

How common are breakthrough cases?

Vaccine breakthrough cases are expected. COVID-19 vaccines are effective and are a critical tool to bring the pandemic under control. However, no vaccines are 100% effective at preventing illness in vaccinated people. There will be a small percentage of fully vaccinated people who still get sick, are hospitalized, or die from COVID-19. There is some evidence that vaccination may make illness less severe for those who are vaccinated and still get sick.


Photo by Bryce Richter / UW-Madison
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