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Do vaccines protect against new variants that have surfaced in the US?

Last Updated

April 12, 2021

The answers on this site were developed with and vetted by the CDC

New variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 illness have emerged. Current data suggest that COVID-19 vaccines used in the United States should work against these variants. For this reason, COVID-19 vaccines are an essential tool to protect people against COVID-19, including against new variants. CDC recommends getting vaccinated as soon as a vaccine is available to you

More about virus variants (CDC)

How do I wear a mask correctly?

Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before putting on your mask. Put the mask over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin. Fit the mask snugly against the sides of your face, slipping the loops over your ears or tying the strings behind your head. If you have to continually adjust your mask, it doesn’t fit properly, and you might need to find a different mask type or brand. Make sure you can breathe easily.

How to wear masks (CDC)

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What should I know about vaccines and pregnancy?

At this time, the studies do not include pregnant women or young children, but testing with those groups will likely begin in the near future. Pregnant women who get infected with COVID-19 disease are more likely to have severe disease.

There is currently no evidence that antibodies formed from COVID-19 vaccination cause any problems with pregnancy, including the development of the placenta. There is also no evidence suggesting that fertility problems are a side effect of any FDA-authorized vaccine.

People who are pregnant and part of a group recommended to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, such as healthcare personnel, may choose to be vaccinated. A conversation between pregnant patients and their clinicians may help them decide whether to get vaccinated.

Myths and facts about COVID-19 (CDC)
Should I get vaccinated if I’ve already had COVID-19?

If you’ve had COVID-19 in the past 90 days, talk to your doctor about when you should get vaccinated. People who have already had COVID-19 should still eventually get vaccinated to ensure they are protected.

Over the next few months, with more and more people getting vaccinated, we will find out more about how the vaccines protect people who have already had COVID-19.

COVID-19 vaccination should be offered to you regardless of whether you already had COVID-19 infection. You should not be required to have an antibody test before you are vaccinated.

However, anyone currently infected with COVID-19 should wait to get vaccinated until after their illness has resolved and after they have met the criteria to discontinue isolation.

Benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine (CDC)
What can I do when I’m fully vaccinated?

Fully vaccinated people (full immunity takes ~2 weeks after your final shot) can gather indoors, without physical distancing or wearing masks, with:

  • Other people who are fully vaccinated

  • Unvaccinated people from one other household, unless any of the people in that household has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19

If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19 after you’ve been vaccinated, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms.

  • BUT, if you live in a group setting (like a correctional or detention facility or group home) and are around someone who has COVID-19, you should still stay away from others for 14 days and get tested, even if you don’t have symptoms.

Until more is known, fully vaccinated people should continue to wear masks and stay 6 feet apart from other people in other settings, like when they are in public or visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple households.

When you’ve been fully vaccinated (CDC)