Many people are anticipating the arrival of a vaccine for COVID-19. Details are still being determined. Below is what we currently know about COVID-19 vaccines.
When a vaccine will be available
Several COVID-19 vaccines are in development. They are going through different studies and checks (called clinical trials) to make sure they are safe, and that they work, before they are given to the public.
We do not yet know when a vaccine for COVID-19 will be approved for use. Vaccines could be ready in late 2020 or early 2021 for some groups of people, but this will all depend on what is learned during the vaccine studies.
How we will know the vaccine is safe
Having a safe and effective vaccine is the top priority. We all want a safe and effective vaccine as soon as possible. Approving vaccines as safe, and making sure they work, is up to several scientific groups at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and other groups look at available information about a vaccine and make informed decisions about the risks and benefits of using it. MDH is committed to making vaccine available once we are confident that it is safe and effective.
Who will be able to get vaccinated
Once one or more vaccines are approved, it will still take time before everyone can get it. We need to vaccinate hundreds of millions of people in the United States alone, so it will be a long process to make, distribute, and give that many doses of vaccine.
The first doses of COVID-19 vaccine will likely be given to people working in health care settings who could get COVID-19 from their patients and who cannot work from home. Other groups that may get some of the early doses include adults with high-risk medical conditions, older adults, and some other essential workers.
Why we need a vaccine
Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 will be one of the best ways to protect yourself and everyone around you. If you are protected from getting COVID-19, you cannot pass the disease to others.
A vaccine for COVID-19 is only one of the ways to stop the spread of the disease. Because the supply of vaccine will be limited at first, doing other things to help stop the spread will be just as important as it is now. This means still wearing a facemask, staying at least 6 feet away from others, washing your hands a lot, and staying home if you are sick.
What you can do now
Continue to help slow the spread of COVID-19: Wear a mask, wash your hands often, stay 6 feet away from other people, and stay home if you are sick. Doing all of these things will help keep people healthy until a vaccine is widely available.
You can also get a flu vaccine. Flu vaccines save lives and prevent more flu during the COVID-19 pandemic. People need to do everything they can to stay healthy and not overwhelm our health care system this fall and winter. To find where you can get a flu vaccine, visit VaccineFinder.