COVID-19 Vaccines: What Do They Do?

An infographic describing COVID-19 vaccines. The text below fully describes the graphic content.
Credit: Lisa Donohue, CoVPN

Many people believe that the vaccines that receive Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) will prevent people from getting infected with coronavirus. We don’t know yet if that is true. The results show that these vaccines are really good at preventing an infection from turning into severe COVID-19 disease.

Even if you get a COVID-19 vaccine, you might still get a coronavirus infection.

What Do We Know?

What a COVID-19 Vaccine Can Do For You

  • Protect you against getting severe COVID-19
  • Protect you against hospitalization and death

What You Must Do to Continue to Protect Yourself and Others

  • Masks, hand washing, and physical distancing help to protect you against getting infected.
  • They also help to prevent spreading COVID-19 to other people.
  • Until we know whether the vaccines protect against infection, these guidelines are still important.

What Do We Hope to Learn?

  • Do COVID-19 vaccines protect against getting infected?
  • Do COVID-19 vaccines prevent spreading an infection to other people?
  • How long does the vaccine work?
  • Will booster shots be needed?
  • Are COVID-19 vaccines safe and effective for children, pregnant women and people with weaker immune systems?

Masks Are Still Needed to Stop the Spread of Coronavirus

Wearing a mask is the best way to stop the spread of droplets from your mouth and nose to others.

Content last reviewed on May 12, 2021