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Should you get the COVID-19 Vaccine? Five things to consider

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The majority of Americans say they plan to get the COVID-19 vaccine when it’s available to them, but some still aren’t sure. If you’re still choosing whether to get vaccinated, here are answers to five common questions that may help you decide.

1. Is the vaccine safe? 


Safety is the main concern for many who are uncertain about vaccines. It’s important to know that scientific evidence shows that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and highly effective. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were exhaustively researched and tested on tens of thousands of people of all different ages, ethnicities and health backgrounds before the FDA approved them for use.

For more on vaccine safety, visit your state health department’s website or the Centers for Disease Control. You can also learn more from the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization fact sheets for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

 

2. Will the side effects make me feel too sick to do my regular daily activities?


Mild side effects are a normal part of any vaccination—they are a sign that your body is building protection against the virus. But here is another way to think about them: they are a small price to pay for returning to normal and doing the things we love. Wouldn’t you gladly trade a mild headache for the chance to safely hug your grandparents, enjoy a dinner out or visit your friends again?

 

If you receive a COVID-19 vaccine, you may experience:

  • mild soreness, swelling and redness on the arm where you got the shot
  • joint or muscle pain
  • nausea
  • headache
  • fever
  • chills
  • tiredness
  • feeling unwell
  • swollen lymph nodes

These are usually mild and won’t prevent you from doing your regular activities. But if your side effects get worse or don’t go away after a couple of days, contact your doctor.

 

3. Can immunity to COVID-19 be achieved without vaccination?


In order to become immune to COVID-19, you must either become infected with the coronavirus or get vaccinated. And even if you have had COVID-19, you may not be immune to getting it again. Getting a vaccine protects you from becoming ill with COVID-19 when you are exposed to it.

 

Vaccines not only protect those who receive them, but they also protect the population as a whole. When enough people become immune to COVID-19 through vaccination, it becomes much less likely that the virus can spread from person to person. To reach a critical point of broad public immunity from COVID-19, it is estimated that up to 80% of the population will need to be vaccinated. Some experts have said that 90% would be best.

 

4. Where do I start with so much information out there?

 

There are endless sources of information on COVID-19. Unfortunately, many of them are not credible. The Center for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) is an excellent source for current, bias-free information. Check out their COVID-19 vaccine resources. Another good source is the Minnesota Department of Health.

 

5. Will my decision to vaccinate really change the direction of the pandemic?

 

Every person vaccinated counts – and the more that get vaccinated as soon as it’s available, the faster it will work to reduce illness and deaths from COVID-19 and end the pandemic. The vaccine will protect you and the people you love from getting COVID-19.


We all want to be safe and to go back to doing the things we enjoyed before the pandemic. The way to get there is to vaccinate as many people as possible.

Keep protecting yourself and others

Vaccines aren’t widely available yet, so it’s still crucial to keep wearing a mask in public places, wash your hands often and keep distance between yourself and others outside of your household. Even though the vaccine is coming, we can’t let down our guard.

Source: Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland Clinic
Last Reviewed: 01/11/21

Please note, information in this post was accurate at the time of its posting. Due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientific understanding, along with guidelines and recommendations may have changed since the original post date.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

  • Read frequently asked questions about COVID-19 vaccines

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