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Talking to Family and Friends About COVID-19 Vaccination

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What We Know About COVID-19 Vaccinations

After months of development, vaccines for COVID-19 are now being authorized and recommended for use in the United States.

How can I trust that COVID-19 vaccines are safe?

COVID-19 vaccines are 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.

There are two main reasons why COVID-19 vaccines could be developed much faster than usual and still maintain important standards for safety and effectiveness. The primary reason is that companies developed vaccines at the same time that they manufactured them, taking the risk that those vaccines might not be approved, but getting ready to mail them out if they were. Second, because the pandemic was a public health emergency, the FDA evaluated the vaccines as the process went along. No safety corners were cut and there is strict monitoring by the FDA throughout the process that will continue for long after the public begins using the vaccines.

I understand there is a limited supply of vaccines available. When will I be able to get one?

There is currently a limited supply of vaccines available, but supply will increase in the weeks and months to come. The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines were issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the FDA. An EUA allows the FDA to approve new drugs or indications during a declared public health emergency. In addition to the two that are already approved, there are many other vaccines in development and testing.

I’ve read about allergic reactions in people who have gotten the vaccine. How do I know it’s safe?

Allergic reactions to vaccinations is quite rare, so the general public should still get vaccinated. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some COVID-19 vaccines should not be administered to individuals with a known history of a severe allergic reaction to vaccinations.

I heard only frontline workers are receiving the vaccines. When will I be allowed to get one?

Public health authorities have recommended that health care workers and people living in long-term care facilities be the first to get the vaccine. Currently, the federal government and state health authorities are working to distribute and administer the vaccine to these priority populations. Over the coming weeks and months, as more doses become available, more people will gain access to vaccination.

The next group recommended for vaccination has not been yet been determined but will most likely include teachers, first responders, food production workers, public transit workers; those who live in congregate settings, such as prisons, group homes, detention centers, and homeless shelters; and people ages 65+ who are high risk due to health conditions including diabetes, heart disease, COPD, and kidney disease. In the months that follow, the vaccine will be available to the general U.S population.

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If I’ve already been infected with COVID-19, do I still need to get the vaccine?

Although there are still some unknowns when it comes to COVID-19 (re-infection is rare but still possible), all individuals are advised to get vaccinated.

Once available, where can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Although locations will vary by community, once available, COVID-19 vaccines will be provided similarly to the flu vaccine – at your physician’s office, pharmacies, retail drug stores and clinics. As more doses become available over the next weeks and months, more people will get access to vaccination.

Once I have received the COVID-19 vaccine, does that mean I can’t infect anyone and can stop social distancing and wearing a mask?

At this time, it is unclear whether a vaccinated person can still transmit COVID-19. Until the majority of the population has been vaccinated, we must all continue to follow the public health measures we’ve been following
this year – like social distancing, wearing a mask, and washing our hands, etc. It’s also important to note that the COVID-19 vaccines that have been authorized for use so far require 2 doses over an extended period of time to provide their full protection.

Do I have to pay for the COVID-19 vaccine?

Cost should not be a barrier to getting COVID-19 vaccination.Vaccine doses purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars will be given to the American people for free. However, vaccination providers may be able to charge administration fees for giving the shot. 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?

Vaccine testing is just beginning with children, and a vaccine will not be available for children until more testing and data is achieved.

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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:

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