Vaccines are the best tool to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Vaccines help your body fight off the virus. When you are vaccinated you are much less likely to get sick and less likely to transmit the virus to others. Anyone who is not vaccinated is still vulnerable to experiencing the worst of COVID-19 and can continue spreading the virus. The more people who get vaccinated, the fewer chances for transmission and mutations, and the faster we can end the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vermont's Commissioner of Health, Mark Levine, MD, addresses common questions about the COVID-19 vaccine.
About the Vaccines
The Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are available in Vermont. Data from clinical trials and in the real world has shown that all three COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.
These vaccines have received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and continue to be safe. EUA is a way for vaccines and other medicines to be approved in a public health emergency. After proving the vaccines are safe and effective, they can be used while long-term studies continue. Learn more about Emergency Use Authorization and watch a video on what EUA is.
On August 23, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was the first COVID-19 vaccine to receive full approval from the FDA for people age 16 and older. It continues to be available under EUA for people 12 to 15 years old and for a third dose in certain people with weakened immune systems. The Pfizer vaccine was the first vaccine to receive EUA, which is why it is the first to have enough data to receive full approval. Moderna has also submitted an application for full approval, and the FDA is currently reviewing that data.
When a vaccine receives the FDA’s full approval, it’s no different than the vaccine people have been getting for months. It just means that there is even more data proving that it works and is safe. FDA approval requires a rigorous and structured review process, and it means that a vaccine has cleared every level of review. Compared to EUA, FDA approval of vaccines requires even more data on safety, manufacturing and effectiveness over longer periods of time and includes real-world data.
Learn more about the vaccines below, including how many doses to be fully vaccinated, how they work, how well they work, side effects, ingredients, and who they are and are not recommended for.