Frequently Asked Questions

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease) is an infectious disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Most people infected with the virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. However, some will become seriously ill and require medical attention. While older people and those with underlying medical conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, or cancer are more likely to develop serious illness, COVID-19 can be serious or even fatal to people of any age or health status.

How does COVID-19 spread?

The virus can spread from an infected person’s mouth or nose in small liquid particles when they cough, sneeze, speak, sing or breathe. These particles range from larger respiratory droplets to smaller aerosols. It is important to practice respiratory etiquette, for example by coughing into a flexed elbow, and to stay home and self-isolate until you recover if you feel unwell.

How can I prevent COVID-19?

The best way to prevent COVID-19 is to get vaccinated with an FDA-approved or FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine and stay up to date on your COVID-19 vaccines and boosters.

In addition, the CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 such as…

  • Improving ventilation
  • Getting tested for COVID-19 if and when needed
  • Following official recommendations for what to do if you have been exposed
  • Staying home if you have suspected or confirmed COVID-19
  • Seeking treatment if you have COVID-19 and are at high risk of getting very sick
  • Avoiding contact with people who have a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19

Are COVID-19 vaccines safe?

Although COVID-19 vaccines were developed quickly, research and development on vaccines like these have been underway for decades. All vaccine development steps were taken to ensure COVID-19 vaccine safety and effectiveness, including:

Clinical Trials – All vaccines in the United States must go through three phases of clinical trials to ensure they are safe and effective. The phases overlapped to speed up the process, but all phases were completed.

Authorization or Approval – Before vaccines are available to people, the FDA reviews data from clinical trials. FDA has determined COVID-19 vaccines meet the necessary standards and has granted those vaccines Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) or full FDA approval.

Tracking Safety Using Vaccine Monitoring Systems – COVID-19 vaccines continue to be monitored for safety and effectiveness and hundreds of millions of people in the United States have safely received COVID-19 vaccines. CDC and FDA continue to provide updated information on the safety of U.S. authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccines using data from several monitoring systems.

Does the COVID-19 vaccine contain a live form of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (the virus that causes COVID-19 disease)?

None of the currently FDA-authorized or approved vaccines contain the live SARS-CoV-2 virus, and you cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccines.

Why should my children and teens get vaccinated against COVID-19?

COVID-19 can make children and teens very sick and can sometimes result in hospitalization. Getting eligible children and teens vaccinated against COVID-19 can help prevent them from getting seriously ill if they do get COVID-19, including protecting them from short and long-term complications. Vaccinating children can also help keep them in school or daycare and safely participating in sports, playdates, and other group activities.

The benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks. CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccines for everyone ages 6 months and older, and boosters for everyone 5 years and older, when eligible.

Do I need to wait after getting a flu vaccine or another vaccine before getting a COVID-19 vaccine?

There is no recommended waiting period between getting a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines. You can get a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines, including a flu vaccine, during the same visit. Experience with other vaccines has shown that the way our bodies develop protection, known as an immune response, and possible side effects after getting vaccinated are generally the same when given alone or with other vaccines.

If I already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get a COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes, even if you already had COVID-19 you should still get a COVID-19 vaccine, and stay up to date with available boosters.

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine after you recover from COVID-19 infection provides added protection against the CoV-SARS-2 virus (the virus that causes COVID-19). People who already had COVID-19 and do not get vaccinated after their recovery are more likely to get COVID-19 again than those who get vaccinated after their recovery.

Can people get COVID-19 from pets or other animals?

Based on the information available to date, the risk of pets or other animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low, therefore, routine testing for pets is not recommended at this time. If your pet is sick or showing symptoms, consult your veterinarian.