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.
- 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 COVID-19 infection. Even people who do not have symptoms when they are initially infected can have these ongoing health problems.
- People who are sick with COVID-19 may spread COVID-19 to others including friends and family who are not eligible for vaccination and people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19
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.
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
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.
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
- continue to take all precautions recommended for unvaccinated people, including wearing a well-fitting mask, until advised otherwise by their healthcare provider
- explore whether they are eligible for an additional primary dose of COVID-19 vaccine
- get a booster shot after completing their COVID-19 vaccination primary series.