Vaccines and US

COVID-19 Vaccines

After living through the pandemic for more than a year, vaccines offer hope for a return to normalcy. As scientists have raced to combat the virus, many of us are asking questions: How do we know a vaccine is safe? How does it work? What should I expect if I get the vaccine? The following resources help answer some of those important questions. 

Watch the COVID-19 ASL Video Series from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for more information »

Meet COVID-19 Vaccines

Exploratorium

Viral Questions: How Do Vaccines Work?

Vaccines can keep you (and others) from getting sick—but how? Find out how vaccines train your immune system before you fall ill.

American Medical Association

COVID-19 Vaccine Development and Busting Vaccine Myths

Dr. Kizzmekia S. Corbett, PhD, discusses vaccine myths and the existing research on mRNA technology that led to rapid development of the COVID-19 vaccines.

World Health Organization

WHO’s Science in 5 on COVID-19: Delta Variant and Vaccines

If you can still get infected even after being fully vaccinated, then why should we vaccinate?

Finding the Vaccine and What to Expect

Stanford Center for Health Education

COVID-19 Vaccine y saty, Side Effects, and Risks, Explained

Dr. Seema Yasmin answers 3 common questions about COVID-19 vaccine safety, side effects, and risks.

McFarland Clinic Infectious Diseases Department

COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics

Take a step inside the McFarland Clinic in Iowa and hear from the patients themselves how they feel about getting the vaccine.

How Do Vaccines Help?

Vaccine FAQs

Mayo Clinic

Understanding Vaccine Side Effects

Understanding COVID-19 vaccine side effects, why second dose could feel worse?

WHO’s Science in 5 on COVID-19: vaccines, pregnancy, menstruation, breastfeeding and fertility

Vismita Gupta-Smith

Should women who are breastfeeding infants get vaccinated? How about women who are pregnant or planning to get pregnant? Or women who are menstruating? Hello and welcome to Science in 5, I'm Vismita Gupta-Smith and we are going to get these answers for you from WHO's Chief Scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan today. Welcome, Soumya.

Dr Soumya Swaminathan

Hello, Vismita.

Vismita Gupta-Smith

Soumya, my first question to you is women who are breast feeding infants, what is the advice for them? Should they get vaccinated?

Dr Soumya Swaminathan

Yes, the answer is yes. So, women who have given birth and who are breastfeeding their babies can take the vaccine, should take the vaccine when it becomes available to them. There is no risk at all because all the vaccines that are being used presently, none of them have the live virus in it. And so there's no risk of transmission through the breast milk. In fact, the antibodies that the mother has can go through the breast milk to the baby and may only serve maybe to protect the baby a little bit. But there's absolutely no harm. It's very safe. And so women who are breastfeeding can definitely take the vaccines that are currently available.

Vismita Gupta-Smith

Soumya, what about women who are pregnant or are planning to get pregnant?

Dr Soumya Swaminathan

Yeah, that's really important because pregnancy, of course, is a very special situation because we are concerned about the health of the mother, but also about the health of the foetus, the unborn child. And so any drug or vaccine that is administered during pregnancy, we always take special care to make sure that, you know, there is no potential safety concern or any adverse event. In the case of COVID, we know that pregnant women are at higher risk of getting severe COVID and also at higher risk of delivering a baby prematurely. So, in situations where there is a lot of COVID transmission in the country and a woman is exposed to it, or if she's in a profession like a health care worker or a frontline worker where she's at especially high risk of acquiring the infection, the benefits of getting the vaccine definitely outweigh the risks, particularly since the platforms that we used currently for vaccines are the mRNA platform, inactivated viruses or the viral vectored platforms or subunit proteins. None of them have a live virus that can multiply within the body and that could potentially create a problem. So, I think it's important that pregnant women in every country be explained the benefits versus the risks and be offered the vaccine if they would like to take it. And it's probably the right thing to do in many situations, as I said, where the pregnant woman is at higher risk of getting the infection and where the vaccines would bring more benefits.

Vismita Gupta-Smith

Soumya, should women get vaccinated when they're menstruating?

Dr Soumya Swaminathan

So, there is nothing scientifically to really come in the way of a menstruating woman taking the vaccine, apart from the fact that, you know, she may feel a bit tired, but if that's the date on which you have a vaccine appointment and you happen to have your periods, there's absolutely no problem in going ahead and getting the vaccine.

Vismita Gupta-Smith

Soumya, we hear a lot of misinformation about vaccines and fertility and infertility. Could you please explain the science behind this?

Dr Soumya Swaminathan

Yes, it's a common myth. And I should start by saying that there is absolutely no scientific evidence or truth behind this concern that vaccines somehow interfere with fertility, either in men or in women, because what vaccines do is they stimulate an immune response against that particular protein or antigen of that virus or bacteria. So in this case, the COVID vaccine stimulates both antibody response and a cell mediated immune response against the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. So, there is no way in which they could interfere with the functioning of the reproductive organs in either men or women. So, I think people can rest assured that these vaccines in no way interfere with fertility.

Vismita Gupta-Smith

Thank you, Soumya. That was Dr. Soumya Swaminathan in Science in 5 today. Until next time then. Stay safe, stay healthy and stick with science.

 

World Health Organization

Vaccines: Pregnancy, Menstruation, Breastfeeding, Fertility

WHO’s Dr Soumya Swaminathan explains vaccine science and the benefits vs. the risks for these issues.

Museum of Science: Boston

Vaccines on Ice: What Keeps them Cold

The vaccines need to be packed in a material that is light, cost effective, and can keep the vaccines cold.

Museum of Science: Boston

Vacunas sobre hielo: ¿Qué las mantiene frías?

Las vacunas deben ser empacadas en un material que sea liviano, económico y que pueda mantenerlas frías.

Deep Dive Vaccine Science

The Health Museum

Everything You Want and Need to Know About COVID-19 Vaccines

Health experts have a virtual conversation about the unprecedented effort to develop, manufacture, and distribute vaccines for COVID-19.

Exploratorium

After Dark Online: Vaccines

Watch a conversation for adult audiences addressing what science says about vaccine efficacy and safety, including a Q&A with audience questions.

Saint Louis Science Center

Chat with a Scientist about Vaccine Development

In January 2021, members virtually sat down with a panel of experts via Zoom from Saint Louis University to discuss vaccine development and COVID-19. 

National Museum of American History

Racing for Vaccines

Panelists discuss vaccine invention, testing, marketing, and distribution from a historical perspective and comment on developments since COVID-19 was first identified.