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Vaccine Effectiveness

I am nervous about getting the vaccine. Why should I get it?

It is normal to feel uneasy or unsure about getting a new vaccine. But the benefits of getting the COVID-19 vaccine and helping to end the pandemic far outweigh the risks.

  • Worry less: Getting the vaccine means that you will be 95% protected from the virus.
  • You will be helping to protect others around you, both young and old.
  • We need about 50% to 80% of the community to get the vaccine in order for it to be effective.

We are all in this together, and for every person that gets the vaccine we are one step closer to ending the pandemic.

Do I need to continue wearing my mask after I receive the vaccine?

Yes. While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions, it is important for everyone to continue covering your mouth and nose with a mask, washing hands often, and staying at least 6 feet away from others.

Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following the CDC's recommendations for how to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19.

How effective is the vaccine, and when does the vaccine protection begin?

Based on manufacturer data, Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine was found to be 94.6% effective against COVID-19 beginning 7 days after the second dose. Moderna's vaccine was found to be 94.1% effective against COVID-19 after receiving two doses and 100% effective against severe COVID-19 disease. Additional information about effectiveness can be found on the vaccine fact sheets:

Could I test positive for  COVID-19 after receiving the vaccine?

No, not as a result of the vaccine alone. The vaccines won’t cause you to test positive on viral tests. If your body develops an immune response, which is the goal of vaccination, there is a possibility you may test positive on some antibody tests.

Will there be a test for immunity as a result of the vaccine?

No. The antibody tests currently in use will generally only detect the type of antibody that is produced by a natural infection, not antibodies produced by a response to vaccination. Experts are currently looking at how COVID-19 vaccination may affect antibody testing results.

Is it better to get natural immunity to COVID-19 rather than immunity from a vaccine?

No. While having the COVID-19 infection does give some immunity, it is a dangerous option, causing serious illness in many, with debilitating symptoms that can last for months. And it kills at least 1-2% of those who get it. Also, experts think immunity from the disease itself may not be long-lasting. Vaccination is the best protection; it is very safe and provides the best immunity.

Is it better to wear two face masks?

With the new COVID-19 variants being more contagious, it has been suggested that wearing two masks can help keep you more protected and also slow transmission of the virus. Masks work by trapping and blocking droplets that contain the virus. Therefore, the more layers of material you have between yourself and the virus, the better.

The best way to double up on masks is to wear a cloth mask on top of a surgical mask (the light blue ones you see everywhere). The surgical mask will act as a filter and the cloth mask will provide an additional layer of protection. Your face mask should fit snugly on your face. You want to avoid large gaps around the sides of your face. And, as always, continue to observe good hand hygiene to prevent infection.