Important update: Healthcare facilities
CDC has updated select ways to operate healthcare systems effectively in response to COVID-19 vaccination. Learn more
UPDATE
Given new evidence on the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant, CDC has updated the guidance for fully vaccinated people. CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. Children should return to full-time in-person learning in the fall with layered prevention strategies in place.
UPDATE
The White House announced that vaccines will be required for international travelers coming into the United States, with an effective date of November 8, 2021. For purposes of entry into the United States, vaccines accepted will include FDA approved or authorized and WHO Emergency Use Listing vaccines. More information is available here.
UPDATE
Travel requirements to enter the United States are changing, starting November 8, 2021. More information is available here.

Benefits of Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine

Benefits of Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine

What You Need to Know

  • Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 can lower your risk of getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Vaccines can also help prevent serious illness and death.
  • All steps have been taken to ensure that vaccines are safe and effective for people ages 5 years and older.
  • If you already had COVID-19, you should still get a COVID-19 vaccine for added protection.
  • When you are up to date on COVID-19 vaccination, you can resume many activities with proper precautions (e.g., mask wearing in indoor public spaces).

COVID-19 Vaccination Is a Safer Way to Build Protection

Getting a COVID-19 vaccination is a safer way to build protection than getting sick with COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccination helps protect you by creating an antibody response without you having to experience sickness.

Getting sick with COVID-19 can have serious consequences.

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.

  • 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.
  • A growing body of evidence shows that the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks. CDC recommends an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) in most circumstances based on an updated risk-benefit analysis.

Before recommending COVID-19 vaccines, including for children ages 5 years and older, scientists conducted clinical trials with thousands of adults and children and found no serious safety concerns. Learn more about the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination for children and teens.

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Everyone who receives a COVID-19 vaccine can participate in safety monitoring by enrolling themselves and their children ages 5 years and older in v-safe and completing health check-ins after their COVID-19 vaccination. Parents and caregivers can create or use their own account to enter their children’s information.

COVID-19 vaccines are effective

COVID 19-vaccines are effective and can lower your risk of getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccines also help prevent serious illness and death in children and adults even if they do get COVID-19.

Recent data pdf icon[1 MB, 68 pages] suggest COVID-19 vaccines become less effective at preventing infection or severe illness over time, especially for people ages 65 years and older. This is why booster shots are recommended for people ages 12 years and older who have completed their primary vaccination series. However, even as the vaccine’s ability to prevent infection decreases with time, COVID-19 vaccination continues to reduce the risk of hospitalization and death when people become infected with COVID-19.

People who have certain medical conditions or who are taking medications that weaken their immune system may not be completely protected even if they completed the primary vaccination series. Some people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised should get an additional primary dose of COVID-19 vaccine and a booster shot.

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About Variants
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. Vaccines continue to reduce a person's risk of contracting the virus that cause COVID-19. Vaccines are highly effective against severe illness.

COVID-19 vaccination is a more reliable way to build protection

The level of protection people get from having COVID-19 (sometimes called natural immunity) may vary depending on how mild or severe their illness was, the time since their infection, and their age; and there is still not an antibody test available that can reliably determine if a person is protected from further infection.

All COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States are effective at preventing COVID-19. Staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccination gives most people a high level of protection against COVID-19.

You should get a COVID-19 vaccine, even if you already had COVID-19. Emerging evidence shows that getting a COVID-19 vaccine after you recover from COVID-19 illness provides added protection to your immune system.

Once Up to Date on COVID-19 Vaccination, You Can Start Doing More

When you are up to date on COVID-19 vaccination, you can resume many activities with proper precautions (e.g., wearing a mask while indoors in public spaces).

  • When you are up to date on COVID-19 vaccination, you may not always need to wear a mask in public.
    • In general, you do not need to wear a mask in outdoor settings.
    • In areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases, consider wearing a mask in crowded outdoor settings and for activities with close contact with others who are not up to date on COVID-19 vaccination.
    • You should continue to wear a well-fitting mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission to maximize protection and prevent possibly spreading COVID-19 to others.
  • People who are up to date on COVID-19 vaccination who travel within the United States do not need to get tested for COVID-19 before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel.
  • Most people who are up to date on COVID-19 vaccination with no COVID-like symptoms do not need to quarantine or be restricted from work or school following an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
  • People up to date on COVID-19 vaccination who have come into close contact with someone with COVID-19 should
    • be tested at least 5 days after they last had close contact with someone with COVID-19 and
    • wear a well-fitting mask around others for 10 days.

People who have a condition or are taking medications that weaken their immune system may not be completely protected even if they have completed a primary series of a COVID-19 vaccine. They should