February 10, 2021
COVID-19 vaccines represent one more step toward overcoming the virus. To help you feel informed, we have gathered information, advice, and recommendations from trusted health experts and medical professionals on a variety of vaccine topics.
Emergency Use Authorization safety*
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved two COVID-19 vaccines for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). While EUA approval is not the same as full FDA approval, experts from the American Medical Association (AMA) point out that does not mean the FDA’s safety and effectiveness review wasn’t thorough. It simply means that some of the time-consuming administration work was bypassed due to the urgent need for vaccines during the pandemic.1 Before issuing emergency approval for the COVID-19 vaccines, the FDA reviewed clinical, nonclinical, and manufacturing data from extensive research, lab tests, and clinical trials.
Quick development concerns
AMA experts state that quick development of the vaccines is not an indicator that they are unsafe or ineffective.1 Experts from Johns Hopkins Medicine agree, explaining that the speed of development can partially be contributed to international cooperation and data sharing, as well as advance government funding for vaccine developers and the use of existing technology and research.2
Cleveland Clinic experts have also acknowledged these concerns, saying that despite quick development, the vaccines given EUA approval were still subjected to rounds of clinical trials, patient follow-up reports, and intense FDA review for safety and effectiveness before being made available to the public.3
Post vaccination activity
While vaccinations will help communities return to normal activities, it won’t happen right away. After vaccination, experts from the AMA and Mayo Clinic recommend the continued use of preventive measures such as social distancing and mask wearing until the spread of the virus has stopped.1,4
Receiving the vaccines
Cleveland Clinic states that in order for the vaccines to make a real difference in the fight against COVID-19 most people need to be vaccinated. That’s why the organization strongly recommends people take the vaccines when given the opportunity.3 Mayo Clinic experts also recommend receiving the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it’s available to you.4 Since the choice to be vaccinated is a personal decision that only you can make, Johns Hopkins Medicine encourages people to speak to their doctor and review unbiased, science-based information to help them make their choice.2
If you’re interested in more vaccine research, we have additional information about the COVID-19 vaccine development and approval process.
For updates and information on COVID-19, the vaccines, and caring for your well-being during the pandemic, visit empireblue.com/coronavirus.
*Disclaimer: Please visit the CDC's website for more information about the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, including information about a very small number of reports involving a rare and severe type of blood clot in people who have received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. No one has reported similar blood clotting events associated with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. If you have questions about COVID-19 vaccines, please talk to your doctor.
1 American Medical Association website; 8 things physicians and patients need to know about the Pfizer vaccine (December 2020); ama-assn.org.
2 Johns Hopkins Medicine website; Is the COVID-19 Vaccine Safe? (accessed January 2021); hopkinsmedicine.org.
3 Cleveland Clinic website; COVID-19: What You Need to Know About the Vaccine (accessed January 2021); my.clevelandclinic.org.
4 Mayo Clinic website; COVID-19 vaccine: Guidance from Mayo Clinic (accessed January 2021); mayoclinic.org.