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UPDATE: On March 8th, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated their recommendations for those who are fully vaccinated.
The CDC says it will continue to reevaluate and update recommendations as more information becomes available. You can sign up for email updates on the CDC website.
Vaccines Bring Sense of Hope
For the first time in nearly a year, there is a sense of hope on the horizon for overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic. Americans now have three vaccines — Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson —that have all been found to be highly effective at preventing COVID-19 in clinical trial participants. While this is exciting news, there are still plenty of questions on people’s minds.
How do vaccines work?
Put simply, vaccines help prevent viruses or other germs from making people sick. They work by introducing a less harmful part of a virus or germ—or something created to behave like it—into a person’s body.
Then, the body’s immune system develops antibodies that can fight the germ or virus and prevent the person from getting severely ill. Later, if the person encounters that germ again, their immune system will be equipped to fight it.
Are the vaccines safe?
Health officials and experts have made safety a top concern when creating the COVID-19 vaccine. All three vaccines have been deemed safe and effective by the CDC, and the most intense safety monitoring in U.S. history is being used to ensure the health and safety of the millions of people in the U.S. who have received COVID-19 vaccines.
Will the vaccine give me COVID-19?
This is a real concern among Americans, especially those who have avoided getting the virus this far. Thankfully, the answer is a resounding NO.
The CDC reports that none of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines or the COVID-19 vaccines in development in the United States contain the live COVID-19-causing virus and therefore, a vaccine cannot infect you with the virus.
What are the benefits of the vaccine?
There is certainly more than one benefit when it comes to getting the COVID-19 vaccine, and here are the main ones:
- The vaccine will help prevent you from getting COVID-19
- The vaccine is a safer way to help build protection compared to building immunity through catching the virus
- The vaccine is an important tool in ending the pandemic and returning some normalcy to daily life
What are we still uncertain about?
While we know the vaccine can prevent us from getting sick, scientists and health experts are continuing work to determine whether or not we can still carry and transmit the virus to others after being vaccinated. That is why, even after vaccination, using all the tools available for protection is crucial as we discover more about how COVID-19 vaccines work.
Protecting yourself and your loved ones from getting COVID-19 is not an easy task, but it is possible. A reminder on best practices:
- Wear a mask over your nose and mouth when out in public or around others you don’t normally spend time with
- Remain 6 feet apart from others whenever possible
- Avoid crowds, especially indoors
- Wash your hands often
- Avoid poorly ventilated spaces and prioritize Indoor Air Quality