Posted by CDC on Jul 28th 2021

Vaccines & Diseases

Diseases That Vaccines Protect Against

Chickenpox (Varicella)

COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

COVID-19 Resources

COVID-19 is a disease caused by a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2.

COVID-19 is very serious and very contagious. Since the COVID-19 pandemic first began in early 2020, there have been over 33 million COVID cases and over 590,000 deaths due to COVID in the U.S. alone. See the latest stats from the CDC’s COVID Data Tracker.


People with COVID-19 report a variety of symptoms including fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

Anyone – including children and teens – can get COVID-19 and spread it to others. While most children with COVID-19 have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, children can – and some do – get severely ill from COVID. Those that get very sick from COVID could need to be hospitalized.Babies under 1 year old and children with certain underlying conditions may be more likely to have severe illness from COVID-19.

Medical and public health experts are looking into a rare, but serious medical condition, associated with COVID-19 in children, called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C). Unfortunately, experts do not yet know what causes MIS-C and who is at increased risk for developing it. Learn more about MIS-C.

People 60 years and older and people with certain health conditions like heart disease, lung disease, diabetes and obesity are at higher risk of getting seriously sick with COVID-19. View the list of the underlying health conditions that put people at higher risk of serious COVID-19 illness.

A person with COVID-19 is contagious and can start spreading it to others starting 48 hours (2 days) before the person has any symptoms or tests positive.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and want to get tested, the CDC suggests that you call your healthcare provider first. You can visit your state or local health department’s website to look for the latest local information on testing.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and choose to not get tested, it is important to stay home and away from others. Find out what to do if you are sick.

Visit CDC’s website to see when to quarantine and when to isolate yourself from others.

Learn more about testing for COVID-19.

COVID-19 vs. Flu

Flu and COVID-19 are both respiratory illnesses that can result in hospitalization or death. Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis. View the differences and similarities between COVID-19 and flu. Download this table from CDC that shows the symptoms of COVID-19, Common Cold, Flu, Strep throat, Asthma and Seasonal Allergies.

Virus Variants

According to the CDC, there are multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants (the virus that causes COVID-19) that are circulating around world. Some of these variant viruses spread more easily and quickly, which may lead to more cases of COVID-19. An increase in the number of cases will put more strain on healthcare resources, which could lead to more hospitalizations, and potentially more deaths from COVID-19.

According to CDC, there are currently five “variants of concern” in the U.S.

  • B.1.1.7: This variant was first identified in the United Kingdom (UK). It was first seen in the U.S. in December 2020.
  • B.1.351: This variant was initially detected in South Africa in December 2020. It was first seen in the U.S. at the end of January 2021.
  • P.1: This variant was initially identified in travelers from Brazil, who were tested during routine screening at an airport in Japan, in early January. It was first seen in the U.S. in January 2021.
  • B.1.427 and B.1.429: These two variants were first identified in California in February 2021 and were classified as “variants of concern” in March 2021.

Experts are working to learn more about these virus variants to better understand them.

COVID-19 Vaccines

Vaccination is the safest way to help you build protection against COVID-19. COVID-19 can have serious, life-threatening complications, and there is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you. And if you get sick – even if you have no symptoms – you could spread the disease to friends, family, and other vulnerable people around you.

The Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccines that have been authorized for emergency use in the U.S. are safe and effective.

  • Pfizer-BioNTech – A COVID-19 vaccine made using mRNA technology. Two doses are required.
  • Moderna – A COVID-19 vaccine made using mRNA technology. Two doses are required.
  • Johnson & Johnson – A COVID-19 vaccine made using viral vector technology. One dose is required.

Even though COVID-19 vaccines are being developed more quickly than usual, vaccine safety is still a top priority in all phases of vaccine development (clinical trials), approval and post-approval monitoring. While steps are being streamlined or overlapped, none of them are being skipped. (Before authorizing* and recommending for vaccines for emergency use in the U.S., both the FDA’s Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) and the CDC’s Advisory Committee (ACIP) have carefully reviewed the clinical trials’ data to make certain the vaccines are safe and effective. The FDA and CDC continue to monitor all of the COVID-19 vaccines for safety).

Where to Get COVID-19 Vaccines?

Click here to find a COVID-19 vaccine near you.

You can also check:

  • to see where COVID-19 vaccination appointments are available in your area.
  • Your local pharmacy’s website to see if COVID vaccine appointments are available. To see which pharmacies are administering COVID-19 vaccines to eligible people, visit CDC’s list of pharmacy partners in each state. Most pharmacies are using online scheduling systems.
  • Your local news. They may have information on how to get a vaccine near you.

If you are looking for a place to get your child (12 years and up) a COVID-19 vaccine, you can also try contacting your child’s healthcare provider.

Do I Need to Wear a Mask or Social Distance AFTER Getting Vaccinated?

Experts have been learning more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions. Based on that information, the CDC updated their guidance for people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

You are considered to be fully vaccinated:

  • 2 weeks after getting your second dose of vaccine in a 2-dose series (Pfizer and Moderna vaccines)
  • 2 weeks after your single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson vaccine)

It takes time for your body to build immunity against COVID after getting the vaccine, so if it has been less than 2 weeks since your COVID-19 shot, or if you still need to get your second dose, you are NOT protected.

If You are Fully Vaccinated:

  • You can go back to activities without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart, EXCEPT where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.
  • If you travel in the United States, you do not need to get tested before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel.
  • You need to pay close attention to the situation at your international destination before traveling outside the United States.
    • You do NOT need to get tested before leaving the United States unless your destination requires it.
    • You still need to show a negative test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before boarding an international flight to the United States.
    • You should still get tested 3-5 days after international travel.
    • You do NOT need to self-quarantine after arriving in the United States.
  • If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested UNLESS you have symptoms.
    • However, if you live or work in a correctional or detention facility or a homeless shelter and are around someone who has COVID-19, you should still get tested, even if you don’t have symptoms.

Even if You are Fully Vaccinated, You Still Need to:

  • Follow guidance at your workplace and local businesses.
  • If you travel, you should still take steps to protect yourself and others. You will still be required to wear a mask on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States, and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
  • Fully vaccinated international travelers arriving in the United States are still required to get tested within 3 days of their flight (or show documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past 3 months) and should still get tested 3-5 days after their trip.
  • Watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you’ve been around someone who is sick. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested and stay home and away from others.
  • People who have a condition or are taking medications that weaken the immune system, should talk to their healthcare provider to discuss their activities. They may need to keep taking all precautions to prevent COVID-19.

For the most up-to-date guidance from the CDC, visit CDC’s website.

More Information?

For answers to questions you may have about COVID-19 vaccines, visit our COVID-19 Vaccines Q&A page.

Visit the COVID-19 page for more COVID-19 information and resources from VYF and other credible organizations.


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