Vaccine safety and the speed of vaccine development
How do we know if COVID-19 vaccines are safe?
COVID-19 vaccines were tested in large clinical trials to make sure they meet safety standards. Many people
were recruited to participate in these trials to see how the vaccines offers protection to people of different ages,
races, and ethnicities, as well as those with different medical conditions.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) carefully reviews all safety data from clinical trials and an authorizes
emergency vaccine use only when the expected benefits outweigh potential risks. The CDC’s Advisory
Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) reviews all safety data before recommending any COVID-19
vaccine for use in the U.S. population. The FDA and CDC will continue to monitor the safety of COVID-19
vaccines, to make sure even very rare side effects are identified.
What is Operation Warp Speed and how were vaccines developed so quickly?
The federal government, through Operation Warp Speed (OWS), has been working since the start of the
pandemic to make a COVID-19 vaccine available. This accelerated timeline has raised concerns for some that
safety may be sacrificed in favor of speed. However, safety remains a top priority.
To accelerate vaccine development while maintaining standards for safety and efficacy, OWS has selected the
most promising vaccine candidates and is providing coordinated government support. Rather than eliminating
steps from traditional development timelines, steps have proceeded simultaneously, such as starting
manufacturing of the vaccine at industrial scale well before the demonstration of vaccine efficacy and safety as
happens normally. This increases the financial risk, but not the risk of the vaccines.
Vaccine side effects
Can COVID-19 vaccines cause you to get very sick?
Most people do not have serious problems after being vaccinated and the vaccines themselves will not give
you COVID-19. Common side-effects of COVID-19 vaccines include pain or swelling on the arm whe