Talking to Family and Friends About COVID-19 Vaccination
What We Know About COVID-19 Vaccinations
Currently four COVID-19 vaccines have been authorized and/or approved for use in the United States. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone ages 6 months and older get a COVID-19 vaccine to help protect against COVID-19. The FDA gave the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine emergency authorization to use in children ages 6 months-11 years old and full approval for use in people ages 12 years and older. Additionally, the FDA gave the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine emergency authorization to use in children ages 6 months-17 years old and full approval for use in individuals 18 years and up.
How can I trust that COVID-19 vaccines are safe?
Hundreds of millions of people in the United States have safely received a COVID-19 vaccine. There are four authorized COVID-19 vaccines, and all have been found to be safe and effective using the FDA’s gold standard regulatory process. It is important to remember that the COVID-19 vaccines – like all other drugs are only approved following an established, gold-standard review process. COVID-19 vaccine development follows the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) review process that includes research, multi-stage clinical trials, robust regulatory review and approvals, and ongoing safety monitoring. This monitoring includes using both established and new safety monitoring systems to make sure that COVID-19 vaccines are safe.
Source: CDC – Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines (updated 8/8/22), CDC – COVID-19 Vaccine Reporting Systems (updated 7/19/22)
I’ve read about allergic reactions in people who have gotten the vaccine. How do I know it’s safe?
Severe allergic reactions to vaccines are rare but can occur. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recommends individuals with a known history of a severe allergic reaction to vaccinations should discuss vaccination for COVID-19 vaccines with their physician or another healthcare professional.
If I’ve already been infected with COVID-19, do I still need to get the vaccine?
Individuals who have recovered from a COVID-19 infection should still get vaccinated to build your immune system and protect against re-infection from emerging variants. Research shows that recovered COVID-19 patients who choose not to get the vaccine are twice as likely to get COVID-19 again than those who were vaccinated after their recovery.
People with COVID-19 who have symptoms should wait to be vaccinated until they have recovered from their illness and have met the criteria for discontinuing isolation; those without symptoms should also wait until they meet the criteria before getting vaccinated. This guidance also applies to people who get COVID-19 before getting their second dose of vaccine.
Where can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Although locations will vary by community, COVID-19 vaccines are provided similarly to the flu vaccine – at your physician’s office, pharmacies, retail drug stores and clinics. To find a COVID-19 vaccine: Search vaccines.gov, text your ZIP code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find locations near you.
Do I have to pay for the COVID-19 vaccine?
No, COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are free. The federal government is providing the COVID-19 vaccine free of charge to all people living in the United States, regardless of their immigration or health insurance status. Vaccination providers can get this fee reimbursed by the patient’s public or private insurance company or, for uninsured patients, by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Provider Relief Fund.
Should my child receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
Children are just as likely to be infected with COVID-19 as adults and can become severely ill. The CDC recommends that all children over the age of 6 months receive an updated booster shot if it has been at least 2 months since receiving their last dose – primary series or booster.
Before recommending COVID-19 vaccination for children, scientists conducted clinical trials with thousands of children and no serious safety concerns were identified.
Where To Get More Information About COVID-19 Vaccinations
When sharing information with your family and friends, get the facts from reliable, trusted sources about COVID-19 vaccines:
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- Pfizer, COVID-19 Vaccine U.S. Distribution Fact Sheet
- Moderna, Moderna’s Work on a COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate
- COVID-19 Vaccine Education and Equity Project, www.covidvaccineproject.org
- State health departments (many states have unique hubs on their websites that contain COVID-specific information)
- Health care providers can provide guidance that is specific to your individual health status