*** Having a safe and effective vaccine is the top priority. According to the Minnesota Department of Healther, the manufacturers must present the study data that shows the vaccine is safe and that it works before it is approved for general populations. This data is closely reviewed by several scientific groups at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and other groups look at available information about a vaccine and make informed decisions about the risks and benefits of using it. MDH is committed to making vaccines available that we are confident are safe and effective.The requirements for COVID-19 vaccine are the same as all other vaccines. The companies making the vaccines have to share information with specific agencies like the FDA and CDC that shows how the vaccine studies were designed, what their process was, how they got their data, and what the results were. Health officials, FDA, vaccine manufacturers, and others have committed to only put out vaccines that are shown to be safe. The FDA has given guidance to vaccine manufacturers about what information is needed to prove that a vaccine is safe and that the vaccine works. Why We Need a Vaccine: Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is one of the most important steps you can take to protect yourself and your community. The more people who get vaccinated against COVID-19, the better it is for everyone. More people vaccinated means that there will be less disease in our communities. Vaccination will also help prevent the spread of new COVID-19 variants. We will start to get back to the activities we love, open up business and schools, and scale back our public health prevention measures, such as masking and social distancing. Vaccination is how we will end the pandemic. This message brought to you by the Minnesota Department of Health.