The federal government, through Operation Warp Speed, has been working since the pandemic started to make one or more COVID-19 vaccines available as soon as possible. Although CDC does not have a role in developing COVID-19 vaccines, CDC has been working closely with health departments and partners to develop vaccination plans.
Now that there is an authorized and recommended vaccine to prevent COVID-19 in the United States, here are 8 things you need to know about the new COVID-19 Vaccination Program and COVID-19 vaccines.
1. The safety of COVID-19 vaccines is a top priority.
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.
3. Right now, CDC is making recommendations for who should be offered COVID-19 vaccine first when supplies are limited.
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.
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.
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.
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 their website as vaccine recommendations and supply change.
For Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination please visit the CDC's COVID-19 webpage.
The COVID-19 vaccine is here. Two vaccines have been authorized for emergency use by U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). Both vaccines have also passed independent review by medical experts in the Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, as part of the Western States Pact. Visit the Washington State Department of Health for additional information.
Washington State Department of Health has announced PhaseFinder, new online tool to help Washington residents determine when they may be eligible to get immunized. Vaccine providers and immunization programs will also be able to use Phase Finder to do assessments of vaccine need by zip code.
If I get a COVID-19 vaccine, do I still need to take other precautions?
Yes, even if you get vaccinated, we recommend you continue with the other prevention measures you've been doing, such as washing your hands, wearing a mask, staying six feet apart, and limiting gatherings.
Many people in our state will need to wait months to get the vaccine, and masks and other prevention measures are still recommended to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 to people who are not yet vaccinated.
COVID-19 Exposure Notification Tool
There is a new tool to help stop the spread of COVID-19: YOUR PHONE. WA Notify is an anonymous exposure notification tool that can help you stop the spread of COVID-19. It’s simple and it’s free. WA Notify can alert you if you’ve been near another user who later tests positive for COVID. And it’s completely private.
If you have an iPhone, just go to settings, enable Exposure Notifications and follow the prompts. If you’re on an Android Phone, go to the Google Play Store and search for "WA Notify" and download the WA Notify App.
The more people who use WA Notify, the more effective it will be. So, wear a mask, physically distance, delay even small gatherings for now and add WA Notify to your phone.
Help stop the spread of COVID-19.
To learn more:
Visit WANotify.org to see how easy it is to add WA Notify to your smartphone
Information about WA Notify is available in multiple languages — choose from the full list at WANotify.org/languages