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COVID-19 コロナウイルス կորոնավիրուս 코로나 바이러스 कोरोनावाइरस


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COVID-19 Vaccine



Updated 2/1/2021

Why is it important to take the COVID-19 vaccine?

The vaccine will help keep you from getting sick from COVID-19. It will also help us end the pandemic faster.

COVID-19 is a very serious and contagious disease. COVID-19 has already killed over 400,000 Americans. By comparison, the seasonal flu killed 34,000 Americans in 2019. If you take the vaccine, you will help keep yourself and others safe from COVID-19.

How does the COVID-19 vaccine work?

The vaccine works by helping your body recognize the virus that causes COVID-19. Once your body knows what the virus looks like, your body’s defense system can then fight the virus.

Tell me more. How do vaccines protect you from viruses?

Your body naturally makes proteins called antibodies. These antibodies fight harmful viruses that enter your body. However, the antibodies need to know which viruses to fight. A new virus can enter your body without being recognized by the antibodies. If this happens, the virus can attack before your body can fight back. A vaccine trains your body to quickly recognize the harmful virus, and make antibodies to fight it. None of the vaccines contain any live virus so you do not have to worry about getting COVID-19.

Should I get the vaccine for COVID-19?

We encourage everyone age 16 or older to get the vaccine.

However, you should check with your doctor if you are pregnant. And you should not get the vaccine if you have ever had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient in the vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you have a history of allergic reactions or have questions.

Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?

Yes. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves vaccines only after they are found to be safe and effective. In order for a vaccine to be approved, scientists test each new vaccine with many people to make sure they are safe and effective.

Over 40,000 Americans were tested with the Pfizer vaccine, and 30,000 were tested with the Moderna vaccine. These tests showed that these vaccines are safe and effective. For this reason, the FDA has approved the vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna for emergency use. More vaccines are being reviewed for approval and may be available in the future.

If the vaccine was approved so quickly, how can it be safe?

Each new vaccine is tested for safety and effectiveness. This is even true for Operation Warp Speed which sped up the testing of the vaccine. However, even though testing was faster, the vaccine went through all of the normal steps to make sure it was safe.

The testing of vaccines goes through three major phases (Phase I, Phase II, Phase III clinical trials).  In Phase I, doctors give the vaccine to volunteers. This research gives information about how much vaccine to give, and an initial idea about the vaccine’s safety. In Phase 1, only a small number of people get the vaccine because it is so new. If the vaccine appears safe, it then gets tested further in Phase II.

In Phase II, the vaccine is tested to see how well it works, and to look for side effects. If the vaccine appears safe and effective, it goes into Phase III.

In Phase III, the vaccine is given to over 30,000 people to get more detailed information about the vaccine’s effectiveness and safety in a diverse population.

Normally, these three phases take many years. This is because it takes time to secure the funding to test the vaccines, file paperwork, and recruit volunteers. Warp Speed helped make the research go faster by providing funding and making the paperwork faster. Thus, the COVID-19 vaccines have been tested across the three Phases and shown to be safe and effective.

When can I get my vaccine? How can I get it?

Each state, county and city has its own procedure for giving the vaccine. People are scheduled according to priority groups based on your age, job, or other factors. You can ask your doctor, employer, or local health department. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a website that can help you find your local health department.

There are many rumors and myths about the vaccine. Where can I go to get truthful, accurate information?

The best source of accurate information is your health provider or the website of a U.S. government health agency like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or a state or local county health department.

Will the vaccine give me COVID-19?

No. The FDA approved vaccines will not give you the coronavirus (also known as SARS-CoV2) that causes COVID-19.

Will the vaccine implant a microchip into my body? Will the vaccine cause a miscarriage or make me sterile? Will it alter my DNA?

No. These are all myths. They are not true.

What are common side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines can produce side effects in some people. This is normal. Common side effects include:

  • Pain where you got the shot, as well as in other muscles and joints
  • Fatigue
  • Mild fever
  • Headache
  • Chills

The side effects are mild, but often more noticeable after the second shot. Most side effects disappear after 1-2 days.

There is a chance that you may be allergic to the vaccine. If you have a history of allergic reactions, talk to your doctor before getting the vaccination.

If I have already had COVID-19, should I still be vaccinated?

Yes. Doctors recommend getting the vaccine even if you’ve already gotten COVID-19. There are some reports of people who have gotten sick from COVID-19 and then got sick again later from COVID-19.

Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

Maybe.  Currently, it seems that the vaccine is safe for pregnant women, but we do not know for sure. There isn’t enough research yet, although we may know in the future.

Consult with your doctor. Both the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists say it is a personal choice. You can go to their websites for more information.

Should I still wear a mask and practice social distancing after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes. We currently don’t know how long the vaccine will protect you from the virus. Some vaccines produce protection for life. Other vaccines protect you for only a short time. Until we know how long the vaccine will protect us, we should continue to practice social distancing and wear a mask.

Will the current vaccines work for new strains of the virus?

Maybe. Many experts believe that the COVID-19 vaccines will protect against some of the mutations. But, it is also possible that the vaccines will be less effective against some mutations. Some vaccines work for a long time, like that measles vaccine. Other vaccines work for shorter times and need to be updated, like the flu vaccine. It is too early to know in the case of COVID-19.

Regardless, it is still very important to get the current vaccine. The pandemic is still spreading. The more people who get vaccinated, the faster we can get the pandemic under control.

How effective is the vaccine?

The vaccines developed by Moderna and Pfizer are about 95% effective in preventing people from getting sick with COVID-19. This means that your chances of getting COVID-19 are about 95% lower if you got the vaccine than if you never got the vaccine. However, there is still a chance that you can get COVID-19 even if you were vaccinated.

The effectiveness of other vaccines may be higher or lower than that of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. You should still wear masks, wash your hands frequently and practice social distancing until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms that it is safe to stop those practices.

Why can’t my children (under age 16) get the vaccine?

We do not yet know if these vaccines are safe and effective for younger children.

However, scientists are studying this question right now. We may know whether these vaccines are appropriate for children in the future.

Where can I get answers to other vaccine questions?


The resources collected here are intended to provide basic information about COVID-19 to diverse communities. Please use the resources provided with caution. We do not endorse or assume responsibility for any information offered by third-party websites that are linked through this site. We strongly recommend consulting your personal health care providers and local officials for medical advice and guidelines. Due to the rapidly changing development of knowledge and guidelines around COVID-19, we have worked to confirm the origin of the links and resources to the best of our ability, but we know that some information provided may be out-of-date or incomplete. If you have any questions, please contact us at or fill out our feedback form for suggestions.