WHAT IS THE COVID-19 VACCINE?
COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States are effective at protecting people—especially those who are boosted— from getting seriously ill, being hospitalized, and even dying. As with other diseases, you are protected best from COVID-19 when you stay up to date with the recommended vaccines.
Approved or Authorized Vaccines
Three COVID-19 vaccines are used in the United States to prevent COVID-19. Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna are COVID-19 mRNA vaccines and are preferred. You may get Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen (J&J/Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine in some situations.
How can a safe vaccine be made so quickly?
Vaccine development typically takes many years. However, scientists had already begun research for coronavirus vaccines during previous outbreaks caused by related coronaviruses such as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). That earlier research provided a head start for rapid development of vaccines to protect against infection with COVID-19. Learn more.
Will more than one dose of COVID-19 vaccine be required?
Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines require two doses to be effective. It is very important that you get both doses within the manufacturers’ required time frame to ensure the best protection from COVID-19. Learn more. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires one dose. In addition, booster doses have also been approved for all three vaccines for certain segments of the population. Learn more.
Does the vaccine have any side effects?
As with all vaccines, most people do not have serious problems after being vaccinated, but scientists and doctors will continue to issue COVID-19 vaccine recommendations as necessary. Some studies have begun to show that COVID-19 vaccines may give a person a stronger immune response than other vaccines that people are familiar with. Your arm may be sore, red or warm to the touch. You may experience a low-grade fever, headache and just a general feeling of “not yourself.” These are signs that your immune system is doing exactly what it is supposed to, which is produce an immune response for you to have protection against disease. This is a normal response in the process of your body building immunity. Learn more.