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*Editorial Note: Pfizer's vaccine received full FDA approval on Aug. 23, 2021 for those age 16+. Pfizer is under EUA for ages 12-15. Vaccines from Moderna and J&J remain under EUA as of Aug. 23, 2021.

This is still an experimental vaccine that has not been approved by the FDA, right?

It is inaccurate to say the COVID-19 vaccines available in the U.S. are "experimental" vaccines. These vaccines have been approved by the FDA through an Emergency Use Agreement. This process can only occur after extensive clinical trials that meet specific effectiveness and safety requirements, which these vaccines with FDA EUA approval have.

If vaccinated people now have to wear masks again, doesn't that mean the vaccine is no longer working?  Why should I get vaccinated?

The CDC is now recommending that all people, vaccinated and unvaccinated, wear masks when indoors. This is because they have found that when a vaccinated person gets infected, they are as contagious as an unvaccinated person. However, unvaccinated people are 8 times more likely to get infected in the first place. If they do get infected, they are 25 times more likely to require hospitalization and 25 times more likely to die from their infection.

I keep hearing about "breakthrough cases" of COVID-19 in fully vaccinated people. What's the point in getting vaccinated if those people are getting sick too?

While these cases have gotten a lot of attention in the news, they are very uncommon compared with the number of unvaccinated people getting infected. Also, most of these infections in vaccinated people are mild and do not require medical care at a hospital. Importantly, unvaccinated people are 8 times more likely to get infected in the first place. If they do get infected, they are 25 times more likely to require hospitalization and 25 times more likely to die from their infection.