Why to Get 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.
- As with vaccines for other diseases, you are protected best when you stay up to date with the recommended number of doses and boosters.
- COVID-19 vaccines even offer protection to people who had COVID-19, including protection against being hospitalized from a new infection.
- COVID-19 vaccines are safe—much safer than getting 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 you by creating an antibody response without you having to experience sickness, potentially including severe illness.
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.
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 not an antibody test available that can reliably determine if a person is protected from further infection.
COVID-19 Vaccines Are Effective
As with vaccines for other diseases, people are protected best when they stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations. However, the protection the vaccines provide decreases over time, especially for certain groups of people. For this reason, CDC recommends everyone ages 12 and older get a booster 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 COVID-19 vaccine recommendations, including recommendations for boosters.
Vaccines Help Protect Children from Serious Complications
COVID-19 vaccination reduces the likelihood of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) for children ages 12–18 years— according to one research study by 91%.
Children and teens who get COVID-19 can develop serious complications like MIS-C, a condition where different body parts become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs.
Getting eligible children and teens vaccinated against COVID-19 can help keep them:
- From getting really sick if they do get COVID-19
- In school or daycare
- Safely participating in sports, playdates, and other group activities.
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. Vaccines continue to protect people from getting seriously ill, being hospitalized, and even dying.
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, including for children ages 5 through 18 years, scientists conducted clinical trials with thousands of adults and children 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 extremely unusual following any vaccination, including COVID-19 vaccination. The benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks.
In most situations, mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) are preferred over the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine for primary and booster vaccination due to the risk of serious adverse events.