Important update: Healthcare facilities
CDC has updated select ways to operate healthcare systems effectively in response to COVID-19 vaccination. Learn more
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.
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.
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
Updated Sept. 12, 2023

COVID-19 vaccine recommendations have been updated as of September 12. The content on this page is no longer current and will be updated to align with the new recommendations. Learn more.

What You Need to Know

There are many benefits of getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

  • Prevents serious illness: COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States are safe and effective at protecting people from getting seriously ill, being hospitalized, and dying.
  • A safer way to build protection: Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is a safer, more reliable way to build protection than getting sick with COVID-19.
  • Offers added protection: COVID-19 vaccines can offer added protection to people who had COVID-19, including protection against being hospitalized from a new infection.

How to be best protected: As with vaccines for other diseases, people are best protected when they stay up to date.

COVID-19 Vaccines Protect Your Health

COVID 19-vaccines are effective at protecting people from getting seriously ill, being hospitalized, and dying. Vaccination remains the safest strategy for avoiding hospitalizations, long-term health outcomes, and death.

What You Can Do Now to Prevent Severe Illness, Hospitalization, and Death

Use – to find a COVID-19 vaccine near you.

CDC recommends everyone stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines for their age group:

Severe Illness

mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective in preventing the most severe outcomes from a COVID-19 infection.

Myocarditis is a condition where the heart becomes inflamed in response to an infection or some other trigger. Myocarditis after COVID-19 vaccination is rare. This study shows that patients with COVID-19 had nearly 16 times the risk for myocarditis compared with patients who did not have COVID-19.


COVID-19 vaccines can help prevent you from becoming hospitalized if you do get infected with COVID-19.


COVID-19 vaccines can help prevent you from dying if you do get infected with COVID-19.

COVID-19 Vaccination is a Safer, More Reliable Way to Build Protection

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is a safer, more reliable way to build protection than getting sick with COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccination helps protect people by creating an immune response without the potentially severe illness or post-COVID conditions that can be associated with COVID-19 infection.

After vaccination, continue to follow all current prevention measures recommended by CDC based on latest COVID-19 hospital admission levels. Learn more about protecting your family from COVID-19.

A Safer, More Reliable Way to Build Protection

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is a safer, more reliable 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 potentially severe illness or post-COVID conditions.

About Variants

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.

Children, Teens, or Adults Who Have Already Had COVID-19 Should Still Get Vaccinated

Data from ongoing studies show evidence that people can get added protection by getting vaccinated after having been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. Even if you have had COVID-19, you should still get vaccinated.

For anyone who has been infected with COVID-19, their next dose can be delayed 3 months from when symptoms started or, if they did not have symptoms, when they received a positive test. This possible delay can happen with a primary dose or a booster dose.

Read more about immunity from COVID-19 infection and vaccination.

COVID-19 Vaccines Are Effective

COVID 19-vaccines are effective at protecting people from getting seriously ill, being hospitalized, and even dying.

CDC recommends everyone ages 6 months and older stay up to date with their vaccines, which includes everyone 5 years and older getting boosters if eligible, for the best protection against COVID-19.

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.

Read more about risk factors for severe COVID-19 in children published in Pediatricschildhood COVID-19-related hospitalizations published in MMWR, and weekly summaries of COVID-19 hospitalization data through COVID-NET.

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.