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Getting a COVID-19 vaccine isn’t just about you — it protects others in your life

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine isn’t just about you — it protects others in your life

According to recent data, both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines have been effective not just in preventing severe symptoms in people who get the vaccines — they also effectively prevent infection from COVID-19 in the first place.

This means that those who get the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are unlikely to be able to pass COVID-19 to others in the community. And that’s important because that significantly cuts down on spread of the virus, helping protect others who, for one reason or another, are more likely to develop deadly symptoms if they were to contract COVID-19.

How we know COVID-19 vaccines can reduce virus spread

Recent studies, including a study published March 29 in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, show that Pfizer and Moderna vaccines (messenger RNA, or mRNA, vaccines) are 90% effective against COVID-19 infection in real-world conditions once you’re fully immunized (14 or more days after your second dose).

The mRNA vaccines are also 80% effective against COVID-19 infection when you’re partially immunized (less than 14 days after first dose and before the second dose).

Why this is important

We continue to see data to support that current, FDA-authorized mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are not only safe and effective at preventing COVID-19 symptoms, they are a vital key to controlling the pandemic and preventing spread among communities.

What it means for you

Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is similar to getting vaccinated for other diseases in that it’s as much about protecting your community as it is about protecting yourself. 

Perhaps your immune system is strong and healthy enough that a measles or flu diagnosis is unlikely to threaten your life. But if you contracted one of those diseases and unintentionally passed it to your 90-year-old grandmother or to your newborn niece who’s too young to be vaccinated, would they be able to fight the virus as easily?

Most people 16 and older in the United States should get vaccinated against COVID-19 so that we can control the pandemic as soon as possible. If you’re unsure about whether it’s right for you or you have more questions about the vaccines, please talk with your primary care provider or visit our COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ page.

Iahn Gonsenhauser is the chief quality and patient safety officer at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and an assistant professor in the Ohio State College of Medicine.

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