Address Concerns About Safety and Effectiveness
COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective and were evaluated in tens of thousands of participants in clinical trials. The vaccines met the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality needed to support Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). As of February 2023, more than 670 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been given in the United States. For latest statistics, click here.
The Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson/Janssen, and Novavax COVID-19 vaccines will continue to undergo the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. This monitoring includes using established and new monitoring systems to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are safe.
- Hundreds of millions of people have safely received a COVID-19 vaccine, and the results of ongoing and vigorous safety monitoring are reassuring. To view the current total number of COVID-19 vaccinations administered in the United States, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID Data Tracker.
- None of the COVID-19 vaccines contain the live virus that causes COVID-19, so a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make anyone sick with the disease.
- Any vaccination can result in a severe allergic reaction (called anaphylaxis). Still, these events are very rare (roughly 1 case per 200,000 to 1 million vaccinations), and vaccination providers keep epinephrine (Adrenalin®) on hand to treat such rare reactions onsite.
- COVID-19 vaccines are very effective. Several clinical trials of 40,000 volunteers each showed that these vaccines have high rates of efficacy for preventing COVID-19 infection and averting severe COVID-19 disease. Additional evidence gathered as hundreds of millions of people worldwide have been vaccinated (“real-world studies”) confirmed the findings of the clinical trials: the vaccines are very effective at reducing the risk of COVID-19 disease.
- Several monitoring systems continue to track outcomes from COVID-19 vaccines to ensure their safety.
Information for Pharmacy Teams
Review information from CDC about the Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines
to learn about common side effects and rare adverse events associated with the COVID-19 vaccines.
Read CDC’s overview of the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines
to learn how COVID-19 vaccines are working, how CDC measures COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness, and the possibility of COVID-19 illness after vaccination.
Take APhA’s short quiz on COVID-19 Vaccines and Vaccine Confidence
to test your knowledge about vaccine confidence basics, types of vaccine platforms (mRNA, viral vector, protein subunit), myths about use in childbearing years, and vaccine efficacy and effectiveness.
Access additional information about vaccine safety:
Visit CDC’s Science Brief: COVID-19 Vaccines and Vaccination
webpage for a summary of the latest evidence, including information about the real-world effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines and studies suggesting the vaccine is effective against variants of concern.
As part of its ongoing efforts to understand how well COVID-19 vaccines work, CDC monitors vaccine effectiveness and rates of breakthrough infections, hospitalizations, and deaths.
Information for Patients
Share CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccines Work
webpage that reviews why vaccines work, why boosters are needed, and what a breakthrough infection is.