Disease & Vaccine Information

SARS CoV-2 Virus and COVID-19 Vaccine Information

Find the Information You Need to Make an Informed Vaccine Decision
Updated July 15, 2023


SARS-Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) and COVID-19

Most coronaviruses, including those causing the common cold, are not associated with significant mortality. The novel SARS-Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) identified in 2019 causes a collection of symptoms that can cause severe illness, which has become known as COVID-19. The SARS-CoV-2 virus is contagious  and infected persons can be asymptomatic  or exhibit symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Symptoms include fever; chills; cough; shortness of breath/difficulty breathing; fatigue; muscle, joint or body aches; rash; headache; new loss of taste or smell; sore throat; congestion or runny nose; nausea or vomiting and diarrhea. 

Complications of SARS-CoV-2 include pneumonia, acute respiratory failure, Acute, Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), acute kidney, liver, and heart injury, septic shock, disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), rhabdomyolysis (muscle breakdown), chronic fatigue syndrome, blood clots and death. Many complications may be caused by a condition known as a cytokine storm. 

Research on natural immunity from SARS-CoV-2 infection varies and suggests that durable immunity to the virus lasts for at least 20 months  and may be life-long.  An August 2021 retrospective study of Israel’s second largest HMO found that natural immunity “confers longer lasting and stronger protection against infection, symptomatic disease, and hospitalization caused by the Delta variant.” 

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COVID-19 Vaccine

New ways to make vaccines including new technologies and production platforms, such as mRNA vaccines, have become favored over the older traditional ways to make vaccines in the COVID-19 vaccine race.    

Currently, the four experimental COVID-19 vaccines and two licensed COVID-19 vaccine    remain under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) granted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The purpose of EUA status is to facilitate access to vaccines in a public health emergency and requires that recipients be informed of risks and ”have the option to accept or refuse“ the vaccine.  However, this status also shields vaccine manufacturers and providers from liability under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act).     

Of the six EUA vaccines in use, four are mRNA vaccines (Comirnaty, Pfizer-BioNTech, Spikevax and Moderna), one utilizes a human adenovirus vector (Janssen) and one is a protein subunit vaccine that uses recombinant nanoparticle technology (Novavax). In the fall of 2022, the FDA authorized use of bivalent mRNA COVID-19 vaccines for use in all individuals six months of age and older. Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna mRNA COVID-19 vaccines were reformatted to include both the original Wuhan strain and the BA.4/BA.5 Omicron variant.       

The EUA status granted to these vaccines does not mean that the FDA has evaluated all safety and efficacy data. For example, the CDC reported in July 2021, after general use in the population under EUA status, that COVID-19 vaccines did not prevent infection the fully vaccinated or transmission of the virus by the fully vaccinated.  Additionally, multiple studies have found t vaccine effectiveness wanes quickly and vaccinated persons may be more at risk of infection.             

NVIC encourages consumers to make informed vaccination decisions and to read the FDA fact sheet and other information and resources provided on our website. Click to learn more about COVID-19 vaccines…

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Quick Facts


  • A few coronavirus strains can cause very severe respiratory disease with significant mortality, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) that emerged in China in 2002-2003  and Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) that was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012.  SARS-CoV-2, which was identified in China in late 2019  and declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) in March 2020,    has a much lower mortality rate than SARS or MERS. 
  • In 2020, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that about 94 percent of COVID-19 related-deaths occurred in persons over age 65 and individuals with underlying poor health conditions.  According to the CDC, those considered to be at highest risk for severe COVID-19 disease are the immunocompromised; pregnant women; individuals with chronic heart, lung or kidney disease; the obese; type 2 diabetics; and individuals with cancer, Down’s syndrome, sickle cell disease and thalassemia. There are other chronic health conditions that might increase risks for severe COVID-19 disease, including asthma, high blood pressure, dementia and neurologic conditions, liver disease, cystic fibrosis, and type 1 diabetes. Click to read more COVID-19 Quick Facts…

Coronavirus Vaccine

  • On Mar. 10, 2020, the U.S. Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) invoked the 2005 Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act, after declaring that the COVID-19 pandemic was a public health emergency. As a result, manufacturers of COVID-19 vaccines that have been developed to respond to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic are considered public health emergency “countermeasures”. The PREP Act shields manufacturers and vaccine providers from liability and vaccine injury compensation claims are processed by the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP).     
  • As of March 18, 2023, there are two COVID-19 vaccines licensed for use in the U.S. Comirnaty,  an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine developed by BioNTech with Pfizer, is approved for use in persons 12 years of age and older. Spikevax, an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine developed by Moderna, is approved for use in individuals 18 years and older. The FDA has also issued emergency use authorizations (EUA) for four COVID-19 vaccines. Two vaccines utilize mRNA technology (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) and are authorized for use in infants as young as six months. One is a protein subunit vaccine that uses recombinant nanoparticle technology (NOVAVAX) for individuals 12 years and older. One vaccine, manufactured by Janssen is a COVID-19 vaccine that uses a human adenovirus vector (Janssen). While the Janssen vaccine remains authorized for use in persons 18 years and older, it is only available to individuals who are unable to or unwilling to receive another COVID-19 vaccine due to the risk of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) following vaccination...Click to read more COVID-19 Quick Facts…

IMPORTANT NOTE: NVIC encourages you to become fully informed about COVID-19 and the COVID-19 vaccine by reading all sections in the table of contents, which contains many links and resources such as the manufacturer product information inserts, and to speak with one or more trusted health care professionals before making a vaccination decision for yourself or your child. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice.

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