Questions About Immunity

Your immune system protects you from infections. COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you by creating an antibody response. After receiving the vaccine, if you are exposed to COVID-19 your body is ready to fight off the virus and reduce or eliminate illness.
 
How long will the vaccine protect those that receive it? Pfizer reports that the vaccine is ninety-percent effective. Moderna reports that their vaccine is ninety-four-percent effective. While the studies haven’t indicated how long protection will last, the FDA predicts it to be effective for several months and possibly a year. Vaccine experts are continuing to study the virus and vaccine to learn more. 
 
Are you immune to COVID-19 after recovering from it? The extent to which antibodies that develop in response to SARS-CoV-2 infection are protective is still under study. If these antibodies are protective, it’s not known what antibody levels are needed to protect against reinfection. Therefore, even those who previously had COVID-19 can and should receive the COVID-19 vaccine. 
 
What is herd immunity? Experts do not know what percentage of people would need to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity to COVID-19. Herd immunity is a term used to describe when enough people have protection—either from previous infection or vaccination—that it is unlikely a virus or bacteria can spread and cause disease. As a result, everyone within the community is protected even if some people don’t have any protection themselves. The percentage of people who need to have protection in order to achieve herd immunity varies by disease. Learn more about herd immunity works.    
 
Healthcare workers are prioritized by the CDC for COVID-19 vaccine because their work places them at risk, but just as importantly, vaccinating healthcare workers protects vulnerable patients. Accepting the vaccine, contributes to herd immunity (high level of immunity in the community) so that we can help end the pandemic. By taking the COVID-19 vaccine, we can also set an example for others because high levels of acceptance are so important for everyone’s safety.