Understanding the Virus

COVID-19 is caused by a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans. Because it is new, scientists are learning more each day. Although most people who contract COVID-19 have mild symptoms, the virus can also cause severe illness and even death. Some groups, including older adults and people who have underlying medical conditions, are at increased risk of severe illness.

How Can Getting Vaccinated Help?

The Future of COVID

The future depends on a lot of unknowns, including whether people develop lasting immunity to the virus, if its spread is affected by the seasons, and the choices made by both governments and individuals. If immunity to the virus lasts less than a year, for example—similar to other coronaviruses in circulation—there could be annual surges in COVID-19 infections through to 2025 and beyond. Years from now, SARS-CoV-2 could join the ranks of other endemic, seasonal coronaviruses that cause common colds annually.

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The Fight Against the Coronavirus

More than 32 million people in the U.S. have had confirmed coronavirus infections and more than 575,000 deaths are attributed to COVID-19. Tens of thousands of new cases are reported daily nationwide.

However, so far over 115 million Americans have already been fully vaccinated—35% of the country’s population! These numbers are updated daily.

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How Can Getting Vaccinated Help?

COVID-19 can have serious, life-threatening complications, and there is no way to know exactly how it will affect each person. And if you get sick, you could spread the disease to friends, family, and others around you.

Vaccinations not only protect the person who receives the vaccine, but it can also help prevent the spread of the virus. All COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States have been shown to be safe and effective at preventing COVID-19, and experts continue to conduct studies to learn more about how the vaccines may reduce the spread of the virus.

Based on what we know about vaccines for other diseases and early data from clinical trials, experts also believe that getting a COVID-19 vaccine helps keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do contract the disease.

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