Every Californian age 16 and older became eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine on April 15, 2021. Vaccinations are one of the most important tools for ending the pandemic and keeping individuals and communities safe. COVID-19 vaccines reduce viral transmission from person to person, COVID-19 symptoms, hospitalizations, and deaths.
There are three FDA-approved vaccines available from Pfizer/ BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen.
The best vaccine is the first vaccine offered to you.
Each vaccine is highly effective.
Efficacy is the chance that each vaccinated person is less likely to get sick each time they are exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19. Vaccines initiate an immune response without having to experience the illness or long-term effects caused by the virus. Although vaccines are not 100% perfect, they help reduce the severity of COVID-19 symptoms and significantly reduce the chance of serious illness and death.
Some people may experience side effects after receiving a vaccine.
Common side effects are pain, redness, swelling in the arm, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea throughout the rest of the body. This is a normal sign that the vaccine is working as expected. A person is fully protected 2 weeks after receiving their last dose. Once fully vaccinated, people may be able to begin doing previously enjoyed activities, such as gathering indoors without masks with other fully vaccinated people.
COVID-19 vaccines do not cause the disease.
None of the FDA-approved vaccines use a live or weak version of the COVID-19 virus. Innovative and proven technology helps the body recognize key parts of the virus and build a strong immune response.
The COVID-19 vaccines authorized by the FDA have been proven safe.
Vaccine safety has been observed in both clinical trials and among the millions of people globally who have already received a COVID-19 vaccine.
It is recommended that people who have had COVID-19 should also get vaccinated.
People develop antibodies through having the disease; however, there is evidence showing immunity through vaccination may last longer. Vaccinations may also provide better protection from more strains and mutations of the virus.
High vaccine rates in a population reduce the chance for the virus to mutate.
Mutations occur when there are plenty of opportunities for the virus to spread, replicate, and change forms. Many viral mutations go unnoticed. However, some mutations may cause the virus to spread more quickly, cause more harm, or impact different groups of people.
High vaccination rates increase herd immunity.
Herd immunity is a form of community protection. If enough people in the community have antibodies to the virus, it will slow the spread of the virus, reduce strain on the healthcare system, and saves lives. Each person who is vaccinated protects a person who cannot get vaccinated.
Vaccines are one part of a comprehensive public health response to COVID-19. Social distancing, hand-washing, avoiding crowds, ventilation, mask-wearing, testing, tracing, and isolation remain critical to ending the pandemic. As more people get vaccinated, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will continue providing more guidelines on how we can move towards re-opening the economy and gathering more safely.