If you’ve been offered one of the COVID-19 vaccines, it’s natural to have questions or feel unsure because there is still so much we are learning about COVID-19. You might be thinking, “These vaccines were developed so quickly; I’d rather wait and see if there are any problems.”
You might also think that other people are more vulnerable than you and deserve to be vaccinated first.
Our Chief Medical Epidemiologist, Mini Kamboj, explains five reasons why public health officials say you should not hesitate to be vaccinated when it’s your turn.
We’re in a race against time to stop the virus from mutating.
We know the vaccines are extremely effective at preventing people from getting sick from the current strain of the virus causing COVID-19. They keep people out of the hospital. They prevent deaths.
But there are new strains emerging in many different parts of the world with variants are spreading widely in the US.
So, the more people who are vaccinated and protected against the strains circulating now, the less opportunity there is for the virus to keep spreading and changing to outsmart the vaccines.
Think of it this way: The pandemic is a fire that’s raging. It can be extinguished with the help of the current vaccines, but the variants are like embers that can float and escape to start new fires. The more we do right now to put out the fire, the more protected we will be in the future.Back to top
It’s rare to have a serious reaction from the vaccine.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is carefully tracking all adverse reactions.
It’s possible — especially after the second dose — to have minor side effects like pain at the injection site, fatigue, headache, and muscle pain. But these symptoms do not last long — about one to three days. They are a natural part of your immune system’s response to the vaccine. Not everyone has side effects, so don’t worry if you don’t get them. But for those who do have side effects, it’s a sign your immune system is working.Back to top
The COVID-19 vaccines are among the most effective in the history of medicine.
The Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine was shown to be 95% effective in preventing COVID-19 in the more than 40,000 people studied in early trials. The Moderna vaccine was 95% effective in a study of 30,000 people. As of August 16, 2021, more than 168 million Americans have been fully vaccinated and it is still clear that the vaccines are effective.
Take the first vaccine offered to you and protect yourself early while the virus is spreading at high levels.
The results of these vaccine studies are astonishing. In the beginning of the pandemic, Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said public health officials would seek to approve any vaccine that was shown to be at least 50% effective. These vaccines surpass that initial goal.
This advance happened fast because scientists had a head start. Researchers had already invested years in developing vaccines for other kinds of coronaviruses. The COVID-19 vaccines were produced so quickly because the technology already existed and using it to develop a vaccine for a new virus became an international priority, unlocking billions of dollars to ensure safety while moving urgently to save lives. Regulators streamlined some steps in the authorization process, but the vaccines still had to meet the FDA’s rigorous safety and effectiveness standards.Back to top
Getting vaccinated is your best hope to return to those moments we all miss so much.
The more people who get vaccinated, the sooner we will reach “herd immunity,” which means the virus is no longer spreading easily from person to person. That’s when we can all get back to doing the things we love with the people we love — we can hug grandparents, eat out in restaurants, and go to sporting events. We can feel safe again.
For all these reasons, when you’re offered the opportunity to be vaccinated, say “yes.”
August 16, 2021