Navigating the coronavirus pandemic has been stressful for many of us over the past year. We’ve had to learn a lot about a new health threat while working to understand its impacts on our daily lives, our communities, our economy and society at large. In the meantime, global researchers, doctors and scientists have come together to create vaccines that promise to steer us back to some sense of normalcy.

All U.S. residents over the age of 12 are now eligible for the shot, but we realize that you may have questions. After all, it’s natural to be cautious when it comes to your health. Getting informed about the vaccines available is an important step in ending this pandemic. As a proud supporter of the Ad Council and COVID Collaborative’s COVID-19 vaccine education initiative, Ally is sharing COVID-19 vaccine facts that can help you make a decision if you’re considering scheduling an appointment.

As of May 5, the CDC’s Covid Data Tracker reports at least 250 million vaccine doses have been administered and 32% of the U.S. population is now fully vaccinated.

It’s your choice to make.

Receiving the full COVID-19 vaccination protects you from getting sick and helps lower the chances of severe illness if you become afflicted with the coronavirus, according to the CDC.

The average COVID-19 infection lasts one to two weeks, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. That could mean several days out of work (not including quarantine periods). Should you have to be hospitalized for the virus, the average charge for a COVID-19 patient is $73,000 without insurance or about $38,000 with, according to research from the independent nonprofit Fair Health.

The vaccine is free of charge for everyone. Many businesses are offering paid leave for employees to receive their shots, and employers who offer vaccine-related paid time off are eligible for a federal tax credit to offset the costs.

If you are considering getting vaccinated, national and local companies are offering a few perks. You might’ve heard how you can score a doughnut from Krispy Kreme or brews from Budweiser on the house. But these freebies aren’t the only incentives available to those who have been vaccinated. Travel and entertainment may be, too.

Fully vaccinated Americans with proof of immunity will once again be allowed to enter countries within the E.U. this summer. Similarly, many large venues may allow only vaccinated guests to attend events like concerts and sports in the coming months. The CDC also has said it is safe for fully vaccinated folks to go mask-less while outdoors in non-crowded settings.

Learn the facts about the vax.

It’s normal to want to be informed about issues that impact your health, and the COVID-19 vaccine is no exception. If you’re considering getting the shot, exploring the facts and digging into the science behind it never hurts.

Have more questions? To help bring you facts about the COVID-19 vaccine, the Ad Council has launched