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Jan.19.2021View related content
 COVID-19 Vaccine Information

COVID-19 Vaccine Information

The COVID-19 vaccines are vaccines that can help to prevent infection with the virus that causes COVID-19. These vaccines have been authorized for emergency use.
These vaccines may not be available to everyone right away. Until the vaccines are available for everyone, it is important to continue taking steps to protect yourself and others from the virus.

What does emergency use authorization mean?

"Emergency use authorization" means that the vaccines are still being tested, but that people can receive the vaccines sooner because the vaccines have been deemed safe and effective in preventing COVID-19. Emergency use authorization is not the same as approval. A final approval will be given later after more information is known about the vaccines.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can give emergency use authorization for a vaccine that has not gone through the full approval process if:
  • There is a public health emergency, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • There are no other approved alternatives that can prevent the disease.
  • Enough tests have been done to show that the vaccine is effective against the virus and is safe for people.

Are the vaccines safe?

No serious safety concerns were found during research studies to test these vaccines.
Although the approval process was sped up so that people could get the vaccine sooner, the vaccines are still going through a rigorous approval process to make sure that they are safe.
There are monitoring programs in place to track side effects and any reactions that occur, such as the CDC's v-safe program: www.cdc.gov/vsafe
More studies are needed to find out if the vaccines are safe for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should talk to your health care provider about the benefits and risks of receiving the vaccine. You may choose to receive the vaccine if you are at high risk of being exposed to the virus or becoming very ill from the virus.

Do the vaccines work?

Yes. In studies, the COVID-19 vaccines have been shown to prevent COVID-19 disease. More studies need to be done in real-world conditions and with more people to understand how effective they truly are.
More studies are also needed to find out how well these vaccines work in people who have a weakened disease-fighting system (are immunocompromised).

Will there be enough vaccines for everyone?

No. At the start, there will be a limited supply of the vaccines. Experts are deciding who should get the vaccines first. Everyone else will get the vaccine when more supply becomes available.
The people who are likely to get the vaccines first are:
  • Those who are at higher risk of getting COVID-19. These include health care workers, those serving in the military, and people who are considered "essential workers." Essential workers are people who do any work that is so important that it must continue during the pandemic. Examples include people who work in law enforcement, energy, childcare, transportation, and retail (such as grocery stores).
  • Those who are at higher risk of getting serious illness and complications from COVID-19. These include older people and people with underlying health problems. Talk to your health care provider about your risk for serious complications from COVID-19.

Who should not get the vaccine?

If you are allergic to any ingredients in the vaccine, you should not receive the vaccine. Also, if you have had a severe allergic reaction to a vaccine or other shot, you should talk to your health care provider before receiving the vaccine.

How much will the vaccine cost?

The government is working to make sure that the vaccine is available for everyone regardless of cost.

Will I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?

No. You cannot get COVID-19 from getting the vaccine. It is possible to be infected with COVID-19 before or just after you get the vaccine and then get sick before your body has had enough time to make immunity.
Also, as with any vaccine, there is a chance of having some side effects. In research studies of the COVID-19 vaccine, some people had a fever, felt very tired (fatigued), or had a headache. Getting these symptoms does not mean that you have COVID-19. This is a normal reaction to the vaccine when your body is making immunity against the virus.

How many shots will I need?

Most COVID-19 vaccines that are being tested require you to get more than one shot. The first shot starts the process of building immunity in your body. The second shot ensures that you get the most protection possible from the vaccine.

How do the vaccines work?

The vaccines that have been authorized for emergency use rely on mRNA (messenger RNA) to help your body build an immune response. When mRNA is put into your body as a vaccine, it gives instructions to your cells to create a protein like that found on the virus. Your body creates this protein, then destroys the instructions. Your body sees this protein as an invader and creates an immune response. This immune response builds memory so that if you are exposed to the virus in the future, your body can fight off the virus.
Your body needs time to build immunity after you get the vaccine. You can get COVID-19 if you are exposed to the virus that causes the disease before your body has had a chance to build immunity.

Do I still need to social distance and wear a mask if I get the vaccine?


Yes. The COVID-19 vaccines are very effective, but even if you get the vaccine, there is still a chance of getting COVID-19. Take the following actions:
  • Stay away from people who are sick.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid going out in public. Follow guidance from your state and local health authorities.
  • If you must go out in public, wear a cloth face covering or face mask. Make sure your mask covers your nose and mouth.
  • Avoid crowded indoor spaces. Stay at least 6 ft (2 m) away from others.

Where to find more information

Summary

  • The COVID-19 vaccines are vaccines that can help to prevent infection with the virus that causes COVID-19. These vaccines have been authorized for emergency use.
  • In studies, the COVID-19 vaccines have been shown to prevent COVID-19 disease.
  • You cannot get COVID-19 from getting the vaccine.
  • Until the vaccines are available for everyone, it is important to continue taking steps to protect yourself and others from the virus.

This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.