The vaccine was developed so quickly, how do I know it’s safe?
COVID-19 vaccine questions answered by your hometown doctors.
Dr. Ryan Kroschel responds to concerns his patients have shared with him about the COVID-19 vaccine. Watch the entire video or jump ahead to hear what he tells them. Links to specific questions are provided below.
Want to learn more? Hear from other Welia Health doctors as they address even more topics on COVID-19. Ready to roll up your sleeve? Vaccines are free and available—no appointment required—at Welia Health clinics and communities pharmacies. Visit WeliaHealth.org/Getting-Vaccinated for details.
The history of the vaccine’s development
The science behind the COVID-19 breakthrough had a head start. Researchers had already made progress developing vaccines for other types of coronaviruses: they applied lessons learned after the 2003 SARS epidemic and the 2012 MERS outbreak. They also learned a lot from creating a vaccine for Ebola — which isn’t a coronavirus but has taught us more about viruses.
The rapid spread of COVID-19 made developing these vaccines an international priority, unlocking billions of dollars in funding to ensure safety while moving with urgency to save lives.
Many researchers and medical experts have come together to develop the vaccine while still meeting the FDA’s rigorous requirements for safety and effectiveness. While regulators have streamlined some steps in the vaccine authorization process, the vaccines still needed to meet the agency’s rigorous, scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality.
After a vaccine is authorized by the FDA and made available to the public, experts continue to keep track of data to help ensure ongoing safety and help us learn more about questions like whether vaccinated people can still get infected without having symptoms.
How the FDA evaluated safety data
Millions of people in the United States have received COVID-19 vaccines, and these vaccines have undergone the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history.
Vaccines are authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which sets strict standards for clinical trials and rigorously evaluates scientific data submitted by vaccine developers. When vaccines are made available to the public, the FDA continues to monitor vaccines very closely for safety.
Researchers began developing vaccines for COVID-19 more than a year ago in January 2020, based on decades of understanding immune response and how vaccines work. Thousands of volunteers participated in clinical trials that started that spring, making sure we can trust the vaccines to be safe and effective.
Based on the results, the FDA has authorized multiple vaccines for public use. In December 2020, the FDA authorized two versions of COVID-19 vaccines (Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech) for the American public. A third (Johnson & Johnson) was added in February 2021 and is currently available for use in the United States after a pause in April 2021.
Doctors and medical experts with many years of experience regulating vaccines evaluated information about the safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality of the vaccines prior to making their decision.
The FDA has provided facts sheets and FAQs on each of the three authorized vaccines:
- Pfizer: Fact sheet and FAQ
- Moderna: Fact sheet and FAQ
- Janssen (Johnson & Johnson): Fact sheet and FAQ
Source: COVID Coalition