COVID vaccines—what you need to know today
Getting the COVID vaccine can keep you safe from serious illness and get us all one step closer to normal life.
Where can you get it?
Visit your state health department website to find out when and where you can get vaccinated:
Priority populations and access can vary by county. Some states can put you on a waitlist and contact you when it’s your turn.
You can also visit vaccinefinder.org or call your pharmacy. Many pharmacies and medical clinics can now give the COVID vaccine. This includes large chains like Costo, Safeway, Walgreens and Walmart, as well as smaller regional or local pharmacies. Go to regence.com to learn more.
How much is it?
The vaccine is free. Medicare and most health plans pay for the provider to vaccinate you.
How safe is it?
Rigorous testing process. All COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the U.S. have undergone extensive research and recent trials before being authorized for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These trials included people from diverse racial and ethnic groups.
Safe ingredients. Researchers have studied how vaccines work for a long time and they’ve found that our bodies recognize parts of a virus, and then can build up a response (antibody) to protect us from the disease. This means the vaccine helps our bodies remember how to fight the virus in the future.
Can’t give you COVID-19. The COVID-19 vaccine won’t cause a person to get infected with COVID-19. Instead, the vaccine works to enable your body and your immune system to defend itself against the virus.
Minimal side effects. Like with anything introduced into your body, there could be mild side effects. However, the vaccine has been designed to have as few side effects as possible. In fact, if you have any symptoms at all, they usually last for a day or two at most.
How effective is it?
Highly effective across different populations. The COVID-19 vaccines that are currently available were studied across a population of diverse ages, races, and sexes and were found to be highly effective. So, across the U.S., every family and neighborhood can expect effectiveness and protection. You can learn more about the vaccine specifics on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Second dose of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines is important. Like many childhood vaccines, getting both doses is crucial to the vaccine working. It’s the same with the COVID-19 vaccines. For the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, the first shot starts to build immunity and the second shot ensures maximum protection. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires one dose. By getting fully vaccinated, we protect not only ourselves, but our loved ones as well.
Keep masking, even after vaccination. After getting vaccinated, continuing to physically distance and wear face masks will prevent the spread of illness to others. Why? Because experts are still learning about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide in real-world conditions. So keep on masking and physical distancing. You’re doing the right thing.
Why should you get it?
Herd immunity is the ultimate goal, right? Yes, but that’s achieved when a large portion of our entire population has been vaccinated. Current estimates are that at least 85% of our population will need to be vaccinated for COVID-19. Many adults have medical conditions that will prevent them from getting the vaccine even if they want it. So it’s up to us to keep them protected by doing our part and getting the vaccine for them.
If you’ve had COVID-19, we don’t know how long natural immunity lasts. COVID-19 has severe health risks, and we don’t know yet how long natural immunity lasts. So, it’s important to still get vaccinated even if you’ve had COVID-19 to reduce the risk of reinfection—to protect yourself and others around you.