COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective and free. And virtually anyone 12 and older who wants one can now get a shot. That's good news in America's fight against the pandemic. But not everyone is seizing this opportunity.
That may be particularly true of young, healthy people. Some in Gen Z, generally defined as people born after 1996, are hesitant when it comes to the vaccine, polls suggest.
A vaccine for all generations
COVID-19 vaccines help protect old and young alike. Whether to get one is a personal decision. But if you're hesitant, maybe you just haven't found your reasons yet.
If so, you might want to consider these:
1. Colleges may require it. Many colleges and universities are requiring students to get a COVID-19 vaccine to be allowed on campus.
2. It could be good for your social life. When you're fully vaccinated, you can enjoy more activities safely, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For instance, you can meet up outdoors unmasked. And you can travel safely within the U.S. In the big picture, each time someone gets vaccinated, we all move a little closer to safely doing normal things again, like going to concerts or sporting events.
3. The side effects are generally mild. Some people don't have any side effects at all. Those who do often have mild symptoms, like a sore arm, headache, chills, tiredness or fever. And these should only last a few days. They're normal signs your body is building immunity. Also good to know: You can't get COVID-19 from any of the vaccines, serious allergic reactions or complications are rare, and long-term side effects are unlikely. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccine facts and myths.
4. You may help protect your community. If you're healthy and young, you may not be at high risk for severe COVID-19. But if you get infected, you could spread the illness to someone who is. That could be a friend, a loved one or someone you've never met. In summer 2020, many parts of the country saw a surge in COVID-19 infections. And researchers linked it in part to infections spreading from young people to older people. Getting vaccinated is a good way to show your community you care.
Have other questions? Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines in our Coronavirus health topic center.