Vaccine Facts

Understanding Vaccine Planning

Great care has been taken to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective

Scientists had a head start. Although the vaccines were developed quickly, they were built upon years of work in developing vaccines for similar viruses.

Testing was thorough and successful. More than 70,000 people participated in clinical trials for two vaccines to see if they are safe and effective. To date, the vaccines are nearly 95% effective in preventing COVID-19 with no safety concerns.

There is no COVID-19 virus in the vaccine. The vaccine imitates the infection so that our bodies think a germ like the virus is attacking. This creates the antibody defenses we need to fight off COVID-19 if and when the real germ attacks.

No major side effects. Some people may have temporary reactions after being vaccinated, such as swelling from the injection, tiredness or feeling off for a day or two.

Those who need it most will get it first. A tested, safe and effective vaccine will be available to all who want it, but supplies will be limited at first. The best way to fight COVID-19 is to start first with vaccinations for those most at risk, then reach more people as the vaccine supply increases throughout 2021.

Additional COVID-19 Vaccination information from the NC Department of Health and Human Services is available here.

8 Things to Know about Vaccine Planning

  1. The safety of COVID-19 vaccines is a top priority.
    The U.S. vaccine safety system ensures that all vaccines are as safe as possible. Learn how federal partners are working together to ensure the safety of COVID-19 vaccines.
  2. Many vaccines are being developed and tested, but some might be ready before others—CDC is planning for many possibilities.
    CDC is working with partners at all levels, including healthcare associations, on flexible COVID-19 vaccination programs that can accommodate different vaccines and scenarios. CDC has been in contact with your state public health department to help with your state’s planning. State, tribal, local, and territorial health departments are critical to making sure vaccines are available to communities.
  3. At least at first, COVID-19 vaccines might be used under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
    Learn more about Emergency Use Authorizationexternal icon and watch a video on what an EUA is.
  4. There will be a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines in December 2020, but supply will continually increase in the weeks and months that follow.
    The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get a COVID-19 vaccination as soon as large quantities are available. The plan is to have several thousand vaccination providers available, including doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals, and federally qualified health centers.
    Learn about how the federal government began investing in select vaccine manufacturersexternal icon to help them increase their ability to quickly make and distribute a large amount of COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Because of limited supply, some groups will be recommended to get a COVID-19 vaccine first.
    Healthcare personnel and long-term care facility residents should be offered COVID-19 vaccination in the initial phase of the U.S. COVID-19 vaccination program while there is limited vaccine supply. CDC officially made this recommendation on December 2, 2020, based on recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).
    Expecting that a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine was likely at first, experts began working during the summer on a strategy for distributing these limited vaccines in a fair, ethical, and transparent way. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine gave inputexternal icon to ACIP, who then set goals and ethical principles to guide their decision making.
  6. At first, COVID-19 vaccines may not be recommended for children.
    In early clinical trialsexternal icon for various COVID-19 vaccines, only non-pregnant adults participated. However, clinical trials continue to expand those recruited to participate. The groups recommended to receive the vaccines could change in the future.
  7. Cost will not be an obstacle to getting vaccinated against COVID-19.
    Vaccine doses purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars will be given to the American people at no cost. However, vaccine providers will be able to charge administration fees for giving or administering the shot to someone. Vaccine providers can get this fee reimbursed by the patient’s public or private insurance company or, for uninsured patients, by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund.
  8. COVID-19 vaccine planning is being updated as new information becomes available.
    The CDC will continue to update this website as plans develop.

Additional COVID-19 Vaccination information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is available here.