Benefits of Getting A COVID-19 Vaccine
What You Need to Know
There are many benefits of getting vaccinated against COVID-19.
- COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States are effective at protecting people from getting seriously ill, being hospitalized, and even dying—especially people who are boosted.
- COVID-19 vaccines are safe—much safer than getting COVID-19.
- COVID-19 vaccines can offer added protection to people who had COVID-19, including protection against being hospitalized from a new infection.
- As with vaccines for other diseases, people are protected best when they stay up to date with the recommended number of doses and boosters.
COVID-19 Vaccination Is a Safer, More Reliable Way to Build Protection
Getting sick with COVID-19 can have serious consequences.
- Getting sick with COVID-19 can cause severe illness or death, even in children, and we can’t reliably predict who will have mild or severe illness.
- You may have long-term health issues after having COVID-19. Even people who do not have symptoms when they are first infected can have these ongoing health problems, also known as long COVID or post-COVID conditions.
While people can get some protection from having COVID-19, the level and length of that protection varies.
- Immunity (protection) from infection can vary depending on how mild or severe someone’s illness was and their age.
- Immunity from infection decreases over time.
- Importantly, there is still no antibody test available that can reliably determine if a person is protected from further infection.
COVID-19 Vaccines Are Effective
People who have certain medical conditions or who are taking medications that weaken their immune system are at increased risk of severe COVID-19 illness and death. Additionally, their immune response to COVID-19 vaccination may not be as strong as in people who are not immunocompromised. People who are moderately or severely immunocompromised have specific recommendations for COVID-19 vaccines, including boosters.
COVID-19 vaccines were first authorized for emergency use in the U.S. in December 2020. Studies following the use of the vaccines showed approximately 90% protection against symptomatic infection, severe illness, and death. By July 2021, we saw decreased vaccine effectiveness against infection as new variants emerged, and CDC put forward recommendations to continue masking, even for people who had received a primary series. Over the ensuing months and in the context of updated vaccine booster recommendations, more than 20 ACIP meetings have publicly reviewed data on vaccine effectiveness and have provided real-time data demonstrating COVID-19 vaccines and boosters remain highly protective against severe illness and death. Importantly, the rates of COVID-19–associated hospitalizations and deaths are substantially higher among unvaccinated adults than among those who have received a primary series and those who are up to date with recommended COVID-19 vaccination, particularly among adults aged ≥65 years. Protection provided by the current vaccines against symptomatic infection and transmission is less than that against severe disease and diminishes over time, especially against the currently circulating variants. For this reason, it is important to stay up to date, especially as new vaccines become available.
COVID-19 Vaccines Are Safe for Children and Adults
While COVID-19 vaccines were developed quickly, all steps have been taken to ensure their safety and effectiveness.
- COVID-19 vaccines were developed using science that has been around for decades.
- Before COVID-19 vaccines were recommended, scientists conducted clinical trials with thousands of children and adults and found no serious safety concerns.
- Hundreds of millions of people in the United States have received COVID-19 vaccines under the most intensive safety monitoring program in U.S. history.
- Serious side effects that could cause a long-term health problem are rare following any vaccination, including COVID-19 vaccination.
- The benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks.
- More information on why children and teens should get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Many viruses are constantly changing, including the virus that causes COVID-19. These changes occur over time and can lead to the emergence of variants that may have new characteristics, including different ways of spreading.