Key Questions About COVID-19 Vaccines: Answers that doctors should know

The US government is investing in rapid development of vaccines against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), several relying on new technologies.1 In the US, 4 vaccine candidates are in phase 3 studies with initial results expected soon. If studies succeed, 1 or more vaccines may become available within a few months.

Clinicians are likely among the first to be offered COVID-19 vaccines and have a key role in helping patients make decisions about vaccination.2

Providing evidence-based information will be particularly important in an environment of polarization and mistrust. This Viewpoint focuses on common questions patients are likely to ask about COVID-19 vaccines.

(1) How Much Does a Vaccine Reduce the Risk of COVID-19 and Its Complications?

(2) How Safe Is a Vaccine Candidate?

(3) Will the Vaccine Be Effective for All Patients?

(4) Was Important Information Made Public and Reviewed by Independent Experts?

(5) Is a Vaccine Licensed or Provided Under an Emergency Use Authorization?

(6) Will All COVID- 19 Vaccines Be the Same?

(7) Can Vaccinated People Stop Worrying About COVID-19?


Many individuals are hesitant about receiving COVID-19 vaccines. Reasons include the novelty and rapid development of the vac- cines, as well as the politicization of the pandemic and inconsistent messages from scientists and government leaders. It is critical that clinicians stay well informed about emerging data so that they can help patients make sound decisions about the vaccines needed to help end the pandemic.

JAMA November 24, 2020 Volume 324, Number 20


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