This article has been reviewed by our chief medical consultant Dr. Charles Schutz. Source data for this article were gathered from the CDC and FDA.
More than 150 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered, fully vaccinating over 54.4 million people, or 16.4% of the U.S. population. The overwhelming conclusion is that they are working.
The vaccines currently available are Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. They are all very effective in the areas of greatest concern – reducing illness, hospitalizations, and death. Comparing the efficacy rates is like comparing apples to oranges. Each vaccine was studied at different points in time and in different locations, with a different relationship to the emergence of new strains. The most important study result is that among the subjects, all three were 100% effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths.
Please remember that public health experts recommend you receive whichever three of the vaccines are made available and warn that shopping for one may mean missing out on another. It’s also important to know pharmacies and providers do not have control over which vaccines will be in stock when it’s your turn. With supplies still limited, never turn down one in the hopes of receiving another. The best coronavirus vaccine is the one that reaches your arm first.
Regardless of which vaccine you receive, you will not be considered fully vaccinated until two weeks after receiving your second or only dose.
After You’re Fully Vaccinated
The CDC recently issued updated guidelines for those who’ve been fully vaccinated, while reaffirming others to continue protecting yourself and others.
Even if you’re fully vaccinated, you should still take precautions in most situations. Wear a mask, social distance at least 6 feet apart, and avoid large crowds and poorly ventilated areas.
If you have been fully vaccinated, the CDC now says:
- You can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask.
You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
- 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.
- If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested and stay home and away from others.