COVID-19 Vaccines: Just the Facts! (Part 4)

Our series on pandemic myths and facts

Now that everyone 12 and over is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, people are learning about the vaccines to decide if they are ready. We know it can feel overwhelming to sort through all the vaccine information out there. Sometimes, it’s even hard to tell what’s true and what’s not.

We’ve been sharing answers to common questions we hear at DOH to help you make an informed decision about getting the vaccine. For example, people have asked about what’s in the vaccines, avoiding scams and more.

Today, we’re going to address a few more questions. But as always, you should talk to your health care provider if you have more questions. They can help you decide what is best for you and your health.

I’m young and healthy. Do I still need to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes, anyone age 12 and older should get the COVID-19 vaccine. Even young people with no chronic health conditions can get seriously sick or be hospitalized from COVID-19. Although many COVID-19 infections are mild, young people can still get severe or long-lasting symptoms. The vaccine protects you from getting really sick if you get COVID-19.

Does the vaccine cause any long-term health effects?

We have a lot of scientific data on vaccines for COVID-19 and other diseases. Based on those data, experts are confident that these vaccines are very safe. Almost all reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine have been mild, such as fatigue or a sore arm, and only last a couple of days. Serious or long-term reactions are extremely rare.

We know from other vaccines that long-term side effects happen very rarely, if ever. If they do happen, it is usually within eight weeks of vaccination. Because of this, the vaccine manufacturers must wait at least eight weeks after clinical trials before applying for Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). That gives researchers time to watch for any serious health effects in trial participants before the vaccine is available to the public.

Experts are continuously monitoring COVID-19 vaccines for safety. The FDA investigates any reports of serious side effects or reactions. If needed, they take action to keep people safe. We saw this happen in April, when the FDA paused use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to look into a very rare reaction. After thorough review, the FDA ended the pause, and that vaccine is available again.

Rest assured that experts are carefully watching these vaccines for safety. And, if there is ever a safety concern, we will share the message right away.

Read more about vaccine safety.

More to come!

We know there are lots of myths and misinformation going around about COVID-19 and vaccines. And we want to make sure you have all the information you need before you get the shot. Stay tuned for more blog posts with answers to your questions!

In the meantime, you can read part one, part two, and part three of this blog series, or check out our Frequently Asked Questions to get the facts. Want to hear what local experts are saying about COVID-19 vaccines?

More information

Information in this blog changes rapidly. Sign up to be notified whenever we post new articles.

Check the state’s COVID-19 website for up-to-date and reliable info at

The COVID-19 vaccine is now available to everyone 12 and older. For more information about the vaccine, visit and use the vaccine locator tool to find an appointment. The COVID-19 vaccine is provided at no cost to you.

WA Notify can alert you if you’ve been near another user who tested positive for COVID-19. Add WA Notify to your phone today:

Answers to your questions or concerns about COVID-19 in Washington state may be found at our website. You can also contact the Department of Health call center at 1–800–525–0127 and press # from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday, and 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday — Sunday and observed state holidays. Language assistance is available.



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