Make plans to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you are eligible once vaccines are available in your area. Be sure to receive the required number of doses so that you are fully vaccinated. The sooner you are vaccinated, the more likely you are to stay healthy.

Why should I get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as I am eligible?

Vaccinations reduce the number of new infections, prevent hospitalizations, save lives, and also prevent opportunities for new variants to emerge.While vaccines are the most effective way to prevent all these outcomes, it is important to continue to follow guidelines from local health authorities, even after getting vaccinated, since no method is 100% protective.

But which COVID-19 vaccine is the best?

The best COVID-19 vaccine you can get is the one that is first available to you, so that you can reduce your risk of getting sick as soon as possible.

Directly comparing different COVID-19 vaccines is very difficult, because they have been tested in separate clinical trials that were conducted in different settings, among people from different age groups, when different variants were circulating, and where other factors varied. However, if the COVID-19 vaccine you are offered is safe and effective at preventing severe disease, hospitalization, and deaths, now is the time to get vaccinated.

Finally, how many vaccine doses do I need?

The number of doses varies by vaccine – it is important to get all recommended vaccine doses to ensure that you are adequately protected. During clinical trials, each vaccine candidate is rigorously tested. Based on that evidence, health authorities will recommend how many doses are needed and the appropriate timing between doses.

Some vaccines require more than one dose to train the immune system. The first dose primes the immune system, while subsequent doses induce a more robust immune response. Depending on the COVID-19 vaccine candidate, multiple doses may be required, which may be given weeks or months apart.

Contact your local health authority to find out if you are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and to get information on the recommended number of, and timing between, vaccine doses.

Visit the trials and approved vaccines by country page to learn more about which vaccines have been approved for use in each country.