Vaccines are safe and effective and the best way to protect you and those around you from serious illnesses.
The COVID-19 vaccine is another tool in the toolbox for our fight against COVID-19, and we must continue to practice other mitigation efforts, like wearing a mask, hand washing, physical distancing.
While more COVID-19 vaccines are being developed as quickly as possible, routine processes and procedures remain in place to ensure the safety of any vaccine that is authorized or approved for use. Safety is a top priority, and there are many reasons to get vaccinated.
It is also important to understand that the COVID-19 vaccine will not make you sick with COVID-19. After getting the vaccine, you will not test positive for a COVID-19 viral test.
If you have already had COVID-19 and recovered, it is still recommended that you get the vaccine due to severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible.
To learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work, please visit the CDC’s website.
For frequently asked questions and resources about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s website.
Because the supply of COVID-19 vaccine in the United States is expected to be limited at first, CDC is providing recommendations to federal, state, and local governments about who should be vaccinated first. CDC’s recommendations are based on recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), an independent panel of medical and public health experts.
The recommendations were made with these goals in mind:
Based on recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), an independent panel of medical and public health experts, CDC recommends healthcare personnel be among those offered the first doses of COVID-19 vaccines. Healthcare personnel include all paid and unpaid persons serving in healthcare settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials.
This recommendation pertains to paid and unpaid healthcare personnel working in a variety of healthcare settings—for example, acute care facilities, long-term acute care facilities, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, nursing homes and assisted living facilities, home health care, mobile clinics, and outpatient facilities, such as dialysis centers and physicians’ offices.
Healthcare personnel continue to be on the front line of the nation’s fight against this deadly pandemic. Healthcare personnel’s race and ethnicity, underlying health conditions, occupation type, and job setting can contribute to their risk of acquiring COVID-19 and experiencing severe outcomes, including death. By providing critical care to those who are or might be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, healthcare personnel have a high risk of being exposed to and getting sick with COVID-19. As of December 3, the day CDC published these recommendations, there were more than 249,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 866 deaths among healthcare personnel. View more recent numbers on the toll COVID-19 has taken on healthcare personnel.
When healthcare personnel get sick with COVID-19, they are not able to work and provide key services for patients or clients. Given the evidence of ongoing COVID-19 infections among healthcare personnel and the critical role they play in caring for others, continued protection of them at work, at home, and in the community remains a national priority. Early vaccine access is critical to ensuring the health and safety of this essential workforce of approximately 21 million people, protecting not only them but also their patients, families, communities, and the broader health of our country.
Healthcare personnel who get COVID-19 can also spread the virus to those they are caring for—including hospitalized patients and residents of long-term care facilities. Many of these individuals may have underlying health conditions that put them at risk for severe COVID-19 illness. Healthcare personnel can also spread the virus to other healthcare personnel. Learn more about the importance of COVID-19 vaccination for residents of long-term care facilities.
To help make important medical products, including vaccines, available quickly during the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can use what is known as an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Before any vaccine can be authorized for use under an EUA, the FDA must determine that the vaccine’s known or potential benefits outweigh known or potential risks. This is true for all vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines.
Once a vaccine is authorized for use under an EUA, ACIP will review available data on the vaccine before voting and advising CDC on whether to recommend the vaccine. Learn more about how the CDC is making COVID-19 vaccine recommendations
The safety of all vaccines are studied thoroughly in clinical trials. Once healthcare personnel and other members of the public begin receiving COVID-19 vaccinations, CDC and FDA will continue to closely monitor vaccine safety. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccine safety monitoring.
Before anyone can receive a COVID-19 vaccine, they must be given an EUA fact sheet with detailed information about the COVID-19 vaccine they will be receiving.
Learn more about what to expect at your vaccination visit.