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Vaccinated against COVID-19? Here's how you can help the CDC

The program will monitor vaccine effectiveness and side effects

ST. LOUIS — When you grab your cell phone to snap a selfie after getting COVID-19 vaccinated, you should let the world know — then, tell the CDC, too.

The V-Safe program is one way the CDC is working to collect vaccine information from the public as they continue to study efficacy and possible side effects. Anyone who’s gotten their shot in the last 6 weeks can register; you’re asked some basic information as well as your vaccine information so the CDC knows what you got and when you got it.

From there, you'll get periodic text messages to "check-in," and give an update on how you're feeling. You’ll be asked about any symptoms you’re feeling and how you’re being impacted. The check-ins will happen weekly for about a month, then three, six, and 12 months after your final dose.

Though the vaccine trials enrolled tens of thousands of people, ongoing tracking with much greater numbers of people helps doctors understand the vaccines in real-time — and take action if they find it necessary to learn more.

“Even if you look at a 10,000- or 50,000-participant trial, you're not going to catch those one-in-a-million events,” said Dr. Rachel Presti, a vaccine researcher with Washington University. “I think we have a good example with the pause in Johnson and Johnson that that's working.

The CDC said they use strict security measures to keep your health data safe.

It's important to note: V-Safe doesn't offer medical advice, it's just to collect information. If you're experiencing any symptoms or side effects that have you concerned, you should contact your doctor.