Get the Facts and STICK IT TO COVID
Vaccines are protecting our community members from COVID-19. More are on the way. Let’s take a look at the facts.
VACCINES ARE SAFE
It seems like the COVID-19 vaccines were developed on a rapid timeline, but research on other types of viruses that started many years ago helped aid scientists in their work. Efforts to control recent outbreaks like Ebola and Zika gave the scientific community a foundation, and financial resources dedicated to a COVID-19 vaccine’s development helped the process move quickly. With three vaccines approved and many in development, COVID-19 vaccines have been studied in tens of thousands of people and been shown to be safe.
VACCINES ARE EFFECTIVE
Approved vaccines have been shown to be effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19. In clinical trials, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was shown to be 95% effective. The Moderna vaccine was shown to be 94.1% effective. The Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine was shown to be up to 85% effective. All of the approved COVID-19 vaccines have been shown to minimize your chances of getting infected, becoming very sick and spreading the disease to others. With vaccine supplies limited, the best vaccine is the one you can get first.
HOW THE VACCINES WORK
The first COVID-19 vaccines use mRNA that help our bodies recognize the virus and fight it off if we are exposed. Most vaccinations available today use a weakened or inactivated virus to initiate an immune response. mRNA vaccines work differently. They work by teaching our cells to make a specific protein or part of a protein that will start an immune response. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus that causes COVID-19 enters our systems. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine and others still in development use different methods to help build immunity and protect us. No matter which vaccine you receive, it’s an important step to protecting yourself and others.
PROTECTION AFTER THE SHOT
The threat of COVID-19 remains even after the first doses of the vaccine are given. The virus will remain in our population and it will continue to be important to protect ourselves and each other until most people in our communities have been vaccinated. Even with a vaccine, proper use of face masks, social distancing and good hand hygiene remain our best tools to stop the spread of the COVID-19.
DIVERSITY IN VACCINE RESEARCH
The first two COVID-19 vaccines were tested in a diverse group of people. About 30% of U.S. participants were Hispanic, African American, Asian or Native American. About half were older adults. There were no significant safety concerns identified in these or any other groups.
PREGNANCY AND VACCINATION
Pregnant women, those trying to become pregnant and breastfeeding mothers can choose to be vaccinated when they are eligible. There is currently no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination causes any problem with pregnancy or lactation. If you’re expecting or a new mom, your obstetrician can help answer questions as you decide whether to be vaccinated.
VACCINATION AFTER COVID-19
If you have recovered from COVID-19, you still should be vaccinated when you become eligible. Researchers do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again. If you were treated with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
CHILDREN AND THE VACCINES
No COVID-19 vaccine is approved for children under age 16. Both Pfizer and Moderna are now studying their vaccines on children 12 and older. The American Academy of Pediatrics notes, “Based on the current pace of research, it is potentially achievable that we will have a vaccine for at least some age groups of children and adolescents before the 2021-22 school year begins.”
Scientists are working to learn about new variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 and how well current vaccines protect against them. Knowledge of the characteristics of new variants is rapidly growing. You can find the latest updates about the variants and what’s known about them at CDC.gov.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention