Vaccines are safe, effective and our number one tool at preventing serious illness and death related to COVID-19.
We recognize there is A LOT of information out there regarding vaccines. It can feel overwhelming; and, unfortunately, not all of it is accurate.
What do we mean when we say vaccines are safe?
As of September 22, 2021, “more than six billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered worldwide and 387 million doses in the U.S.” (Our World in Data). Prior to that, tens of thousands of people participated in clinical drug trials, which resulted in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granting support for emergency use authorization because the COVID-19 vaccines were shown to meet standards for safety, effectiveness and manufacturing quality. COVID-19 vaccines are NOT experimental. All of the rigorous safety protocols for using and approving vaccines were followed. And as of August 23, 2020, the Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19 has received full FDA approval.
Resources on vaccine safety:
- General vaccine safety (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)
- COVID-19 vaccine safety (Mayo Clinic)
- COVID-19 vaccine safety (CDC)
What do we mean when we say vaccines are effective?
In clinical trials, all of the vaccine options for COVID-19 available in the U.S. have shown 80-90+% effectiveness at preventing severe illness and death, meaning they work remarkably well.
It’s possible to be vaccinated and have a “breakthrough infection,” but it’s less likely for vaccinated individuals to require hospitalization and/or die from COVID-19. Data has shown that the vast majority of people getting hospitalized and/or dying from COVID-19 in the U.S., currently, are unvaccinated.
Resources on vaccine effectiveness:
- Delta variant: what we know about the science (CDC)
- How COVID-19 vaccines are studied for effectiveness (CDC)
- Effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines in frontline workers, December 2020-August 2021 (CDC)
- Vaccine efficacy, effectiveness (World Health Organization)
What do we mean when we say vaccines are our number one tool at preventing severe illness and death related to COVID-19?
The COVID-19 vaccines have shown to work at preventing severe illness and death. See benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine (CDC).
While there are medications and therapies that can help manage symptoms related to COVID-19, there is NO cure. This means prevention (vaccination) is our best tool in fighting this illness.
Emerging evidence has shown that vaccination is even important for those who have had a prior infection, as the unvaccinated who have had COVID-19 may be more likely to get COVID-19 again than those who have been vaccinated.
While vaccines are our number one tool at fighting COVID-19, we know that layered protection helps to slow the spread and decrease transmission. In addition to getting vaccinated (if you’re in the approved ages for COVID-19 vaccination), we recommend masking indoors (or outdoors in group settings), maintaining physical distance from others who don’t live in your household, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, staying home when you’re sick and washing your hands thoroughly and frequently.
You may still have questions. That’s OK!
Bring your questions to your family doctor or primary care physician. Your doctor will share with you what’s known, what’s unknown and give you guidance based on the best available evidence.
Trusted Sources on COVID-19 Vaccines:
- COVID-19 Vaccines: Myths & Facts (American Academy of Family Physicians)
- COVID-19 Vaccines: Frequently Asked Questions (American Academy of Family Physicians)
- COVID-19 Vaccines: Frequently Asked Questions (CDC)
- About the COVID-19 Vaccine (Minnesota Department of Health)
Where Can You Get the Shot