I've been wondering about this for weeks now: How long is a COVID-19 vaccine effective?

Minnesota and the rest of the country (and world) is racing to get shots in arms; to get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. Three vaccines are now available in he state from the two-shot options from Pfizer and Moderna, to the single-dose vaccine from Johnson &  Johnson.

Yesterday the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that fully-vaccinated extended family members can now gather indoors without masks and without social distancing. That sounds like a hug to me. How great is that?!?!

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Now, while we all celebrate what feels like the vaccines are steering us towards normalcy for the first time in a year -- the question we're asking is: How long does the protection from a COVID-19 vaccine actually last?

In the case of the flu, one shot a year does the trick, but influenza is a seasonal thing. COVID-19 has hit hard, non-stop for the entirety of the last year without letup. So the question remains.

The official word from the Centers for Disease Control:

We don’t know how long protection lasts for those who are vaccinated. What we do know is that COVID-19 has caused very serious illness and death for a lot of people. If you get COVID-19, you also risk giving it to loved ones who may get very sick. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is a safer choice. Experts are working to learn more about both natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity. CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available.

Needless to say, that's not a lot of help -- but to be fair, just the fact that vaccines are available a year into the pandemic is amazing in itself.

My parents have been vaccinated in the Twin Cities, and I will be at my first available opportunity, likely a few more eligibility phases down the road here in Minnesota.

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.