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Once you receive your first shot, your body begins producing antibodies to the coronavirus. These antibodies help your immune system fight the virus if you happen to be exposed, so it reduces your chance of getting the disease. There are three vaccines authorized for use in the United States, and they are all more than 70% effective in preventing infection.

A new study found that expectant mothers who receive the COVID-19 vaccine create antibodies to the virus and pass those to their unborn baby through the placenta. Mothers were also shown to pass antibodies to their newborns through breast milk. This suggests those newborns have some immunity to the virus, which is especially important as young children cannot get the vaccine.

During studies, the three authorized vaccines have shown to be effective at preventing severe illness from COVID-19. So even if you were vaccinated and become infected, you are very unlikely to become severely ill. The clinical trials for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines showed they were 100% effective at preventing severe illness. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine showed 85% effectiveness against severe illness.The vaccines are also effective against the new variants we're beginning to see circulate, such as the Delta variant. Much like the original strand, all three vaccines will protect you against severe illness and reduce the likelihood for hospitalization. Studies have shown vaccinated people who do get infected have mild to moderate cases of COVID-19 compared to those who aren't vaccinated. So, your risk of hospitalization and death because of COVID-19 is nearly eliminated once you are fully vaccinated.

The vaccine is the final step in our effort to get back to a more normal way of life. Public health measures such as mask wearing, physical distancing and hand-washing were implemented to slow the spread of the virus, and they have proven to work. The CDC now recommends any person who isn’t vaccinated continue to wear a mask. If you’re vaccinated and feel more comfortable wearing a mask, it’s up to your discretion.Evidence suggests that vaccinated people who might be infected with the coronavirus have fewer virus particles in their nose and mouth and are less likely to spread it to others. This finding is important as getting vaccinated now not only protects you, but also limits spreading the virus to loved ones and friends. As more people continue to receive the vaccine, we might reach herd immunity, which means the spread of the virus becomes unlikely. It’s important we all receive the vaccine to help us achieve this public health goal.

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