COVID-19: Vaccines


There are now several vaccines for COVID-19. All prevent serious illness or death from COVID-19, and all are safe. You probably won’t be able to choose which one you get, but the sooner you get vaccinated with any of them, the sooner you will be protected. Getting vaccinated also slows the spread of the disease.

The vaccines use several methods to make your body recognize the COVID-19 virus and then build protection (“antibodies”) to fight it. The vaccine is usually injected into muscle (the upper arm is often easiest). If another dose is needed to fully protect you, depending on the vaccine, that should occur 3 to 12 weeks later. None of the vaccines can make you sick with COVID-19.

Vaccines are safe and effective
Vaccines work. You and many people you know have been safely vaccinated against many illnesses. Because of vaccines, some illnesses that used to harm or even kill people, such as polio and smallpox, are now rare or have disappeared completely.

All vaccines are tested to make sure the vaccine is not harmful, find the best dose, make sure there are no serious side effects, and make sure it is effective. The COVID-19 vaccines have been tested by more than 250,000 people in many different countries — people of different ethnicities, with various existing illnesses, and of a wide range of ages. After many months, almost no health problems were reported from any of the new vaccines. That’s why the COVID-19 vaccines were approved quickly. The vaccines now have been used by millions of people around
the world with very few serious side effects reported.

Much of the research used to develop these vaccines was done before the COVID-19 epidemic began. Outbreaks of other coronaviruses in 2002 (SARS) and 2012 (MERS) drove the development of new vaccines and vaccine technologies to stop them. This and other research worldwide quickened the development of the COVID-19 vaccines.

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