Bringing a new vaccine to the public involves many steps including vaccine development, clinical trials, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorization or approval, manufacturing, and distribution. Many different public organizations and private companies have worked together to make COVID-19 vaccines available to the public. While COVID-19 vaccines have been developed rapidly, all steps have been taken to ensure their safety and effectiveness.
New vaccines are first developed in laboratories. The virus that causes COVID-19 is related to other coronaviruses that cause diseases such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). Scientists have been studying these other coronaviruses to develop vaccines against them for many years, long before SARS-COV-2 was identified. The knowledge gained through past research on coronavirus vaccines helped to accelerate the initial development of the current COVID-19 vaccines.