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I'VE NEVER HAD COVID-19

Information on COVID-19 risks and how you can help prevent the disease.


AM I AT RISK?

COVID-19 spreads easily and is mainly transmitted from person to person when respiratory droplets are expelled as a person talks, coughs, or sneezes. It can also be spread when people come into contact with droplets containing the virus by touching the surface where the droplets are, then touching their faces. People of any age can get COVID-19. Older adults and people with underlying conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

Underlying Conditions

Older adults and people with underlying conditions, such as cancer, heart and lung conditions, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, obesity, sickle cell, or compromised immune systems are known to have increased risks for severe cases of COVID-19. 

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Find out how you can participate in a vaccine or other prevention trial.

ENROLL NOW
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How Can I Participate in a Clinical Trial for a New Vaccine and Other Preventions?

Clinical trials help advance our understanding of diseases and find new ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat illnesses such as COVID-19. Multiple agencies and institutions are recruiting participants for COVID-19 vaccine and other prevention trials. Safe and effective vaccines and other preventions that work for most people are only possible when volunteers from all walks of life participate in the development of those vaccines and other preventions by joining clinical trials.

If you would like to participate in a prevention clinical trial, visit preventcovid.org

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Graphic of a patient receiving a shot.
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WHEN CAN I GET A COVID-19 VACCINE?

Vaccines are an important strategy to prevent illness and are very effective. Diseases that were once commonplace and deadly have been eliminated or significantly diminished thanks to vaccines. Keep in touch with your healthcare providers to find out when a vaccine will be available to you.

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HOW DO VACCINES WORK?

Simply put, a vaccine trains the immune system to recognize certain pathogens such as viruses and bacteria. The human body produces proteins called antibodies to fight the pathogens. By introducing weakened or killed strains (or parts) of viruses, bacteria, fungi, or parasites, the body can safely develop antibodies that can recognize and fight a full-scale infection caused when the pathogens multiply and affect normal processes in the body.

Vaccine illustration

 

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ARE VACCINES SAFE? WHAT ARE THE RISKS AND SIDE EFFECTS?

Safety is the top priority in the development of vaccines, from beginning to end. FDA-approved vaccines are safer than the diseases they are meant to prevent. Side effects from vaccines are usually mild and don’t last long. Common side effects are discomfort where the injection is given, tiredness, headaches, chills, mild fever, and muscle or joint aches. More serious side effects are very rare and include allergic reaction in one or two people per million. Vaccines go through three phases of rigorous testing and the United States requires that side effects be tracked and monitored to ensure continued safety even after vaccines have been thoroughly tested and reviewed before approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Rigorous Testing

Vaccines go through rigorous laboratory testing before being tested on humans. If the FDA determines that a vaccine candidate is safe to use in people, clinical trials commence with about 20 to 100 volunteers. Depending on the results with these initial volunteers, the testing is expanded to include thousands of people before the safety and effectiveness data about the vaccine are submitted to the FDA for review.

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HOW GETTING YOUR FLU SHOT CAN HELP

Getting your flu vaccination reduces the number of people who get the flu. This reduces the demand on health care resources as many health care systems are stressed by the number of COVID-19 patients they are treating.

Influenza

The flu is a contagious viral respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it kills between 12,000 and 61,000 annually. Young children, older adults, pregnant women, and people with chronic health conditions are most at risk from developing serious complications. The best way to protect yourself and others is to get your flu shot.

SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19 AND FLU


Many early symptoms of COVID-19 and the flu are similar and testing may be needed to confirm a diagnosis:

COVID-19

  • Cough
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Fever or chills
  • Headache
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of taste or smell

Influenza

  • Cough
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Fever or chills
  • Headache
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Nausea or vomiting (more common in children)
  • Diarrhea
  • Sore throat
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