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8 Things to Know about the U.S. COVID-19 Vaccination Program

Posted on: Nov 30, 2020

In the United States, there is not yet an authorized or approved vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). CDC has been working closely with health departments and partners to develop vaccination plans for when a vaccine is available. With the possibility of one or more COVID-19 vaccines becoming available before the end of the year, here are 8 things you need to know about where those plans currently stand.

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.

CDC has developed a new tool, v-safe, as an additional layer of safety monitoring to increase our ability to rapidly detect any safety issues with COVID-19 vaccines. V-safe is a new smartphone-based, after-vaccination health checker for people who receive COVID-19 vaccines.

2.  COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you from getting COVID-19. Two doses are needed.

You need 2 doses of the currently available COVID-19 vaccine. A second shot 3 weeks after your first shot is needed to get the most protection the vaccine has to offer against this serious disease.

3. Right now, CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccine be offered to healthcare personnel and residents of long-term care facilities.

Because the current supply of COVID-19 vaccine in the United States is limited, CDC recommends that initial supplies of COVID-19 vaccine be offered to healthcare personnel and long-term care facility residents.

Learn more about who should be vaccinated first when vaccine supplies are limited.

4. There is currently a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine in the United States, but supply will increase in the weeks and months to come.

The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as large enough quantities are available. Once vaccine is widely available, the plan is to have several thousand vaccination providers offering COVID-19 vaccines in doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals, and federally qualified health centers.

5. After COVID-19 vaccination, you may have some side effects. This is a normal sign that your body is building protection.

The side effects from COVID-19 vaccination may feel like flu and might even affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. Learn more about what side effects to expect and get helpful tips on how to reduce pain and discomfort after your vaccination.

CDC makes vaccination recommendations, including those for COVID-19 vaccines, based on input from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Learn more

6. Cost is not 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, vaccination providers may be able to charge administration fees for giving the shot. Vaccination 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 Fundexternal icon.

7. The first COVID-19 vaccine is being used under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Many other vaccines are still being developed and tested.

Learn more about FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization authorityexternal icon and watch a video on what an EUA is.

If more COVID-19 vaccines are authorized or approved by FDA, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will quickly hold public meetings to review all available data about each vaccine and make recommendations for their use in the United States. Learn more about how CDC is making COVID-19 vaccine recommendations.

All ACIP-recommended vaccines will be included in the U.S. COVID-19 Vaccination Program. CDC continues to work at all levels with partners, including healthcare associations, on a flexible COVID-19 vaccination program that can accommodate different vaccines and adapt to different scenarios. State, tribal, local, and territorial health departments have developed distribution plans to make sure all recommended vaccines are available to their communities.

8. COVID-19 vaccines are one of many important tools to help us stop this pandemic.

It’s important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic as we learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions. Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others, stay at least 6 feet away from others, avoid crowds, and wash your hands often.

CDC will continue to update this website as vaccine recommendations and supply change.

Source: CDC.gov, updated December 13