Now that the COVID-19 vaccination program has begun distributing vaccines, there’s a feeling of hope sweeping the nation. Still, many people are hesitant, because they’re not sure that the vaccine benefits outweigh the risks. Do they? Here are some things you should know.
- Currently, there are three vaccines authorized and recommended to prevent COVID-19 in the United States. Both the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and the Moderna COVID-vaccine are vaccine are mRNA vaccines, and are both about 95 percent effective in preventing COVID-19. Another vaccine, from Johnson and Johnson, has recently been approved. It’s a viral vector vaccine, and is about 90 percent effective in preventing the virus, but is 100% effective at preventing serious effects of COVID-19. None of the vaccines contain eggs, preservatives, or latex.
- More vaccines are in the wings. Several other COVID-19 vaccines are in development, but they’re currently in clinical trials. Before they’re authorized or approved, it will have to be proven that they substantially reduce your risk of COVID-19.
- COVID-19 vaccines are safe. Before they were approved, the vaccines underwent rigorous testing to ensure their efficacy and safety. They were carefully evaluated in clinical trials before they were authorized for distribution.
- COVID-19 vaccination will reduce your risk of getting COVID-19. One of the primary COVID-19 vaccine benefits is that it can lower your risk of getting the virus. Neither of the current viruses are 100 percent effective, but if you do contract the COVID-19 after you’ve had the vaccine, you’re likely to have much milder symptoms than if you weren’t vaccinated.
- Getting the COVID-19 vaccine might also protect people around you, especially people at increased risk for severe illness, but it’s too soon to tell. Right now, experts are not sure whether the COVID-19 vaccination prevents transmission. Sometimes people infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 can be asymptomatic, so before we know whether the vaccine reduces asymptomatic infections, it’s important to continue to be cautious. Until the research is complete on this, you’ll still need to wear a mask, even after you receive the vaccine. It’s important to follow the instructions of health experts and stay cautious, in order to protect those around you.
- COVID-19 vaccination is a safer way to help build protection. If you contract COVID-19, you may gain some natural protection, or immunity. However, experts aren’t sure how long this natural immunity will last, and the dangers inherent in having COVID-19 are not worth the risk. When you weigh the risks and benefits of the vaccine against having the virus, you’ll realize that building up your immunity by being vaccinated is a much safer, more effective way to go.
- You may have side effects after vaccination, but these are normal. The COVID-19 vaccines cannot make you sick with COVID-19 because none of them contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. While COVID-19 can be life-threatening, the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccination are mild. They include chills and tiredness, and should go away in a few days.
- In the coming months, vaccines will become widely available. Right now, the vaccine supply is limited. However, the federal government is working to make vaccines available to everyone at no cost. Soon, doctors’ offices, pharmacies, hospitals, and clinics will be offering the vaccine.
- There are things we know about herd immunity. Herd immunity is the point at which enough people are protected from a disease that it makes it hard for the disease to spread through the community. When a large percentage of the population is vaccinated, we’ll achieve herd immunity. The great thing about herd immunity is that it protects people who cannot be vaccinated, like young children and people allergic to the vaccine.
- There are also things about herd immunity that we don’t know. The experts haven’t yet come to a consensus on the percentage of people who would need to be vaccinated for us to achieve herd immunity to COVID-19. The CDC and other experts are working to answer this question.
- There’s still much to learn about COVID-19 vaccines and new variants of the virus. The evolution of new variants of the COVID-19 virus is a concern, but not unexpected. As these variants emerge, scientists continue to work to learn more about them, how easily they spread, and the severity of the associated illness. Current information indicates that the vaccines approved for COVID-19 are also effective against these variants.
At BrightStar Care, we know that healthcare can sometimes be confusing, and caring for a family member can be challenging. Because we believe that caring is more than just a job, our nurses, therapists, CNAs, and caregivers offer the most professional compassionate care available, in the comforting, familiar surroundings of home. Further, because we have a Director of Nursing overseeing all care, at every level, whether personal or skilled, our patients and their family members have access to someone with insight regarding COVID-19 vaccination. If you have questions related to the vaccines, or any follow-up questions, feel free to ask and we'll offer expert advice.