For the next few months, KOM is collaborating with the Minnesota Department of Health and other partners to get information out in the community about the COVID-19 vaccine. This month, we will start by addressing a few common questions about the vaccine.
Are the vaccines safe?
Yes. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide guidance to vaccine manufacturers and study the safety and efficacy of the vaccines. The vaccines must meet strict safety standards before they can be administered to the public. In addition, the Minnesota Department of Health has committed to only distributing vaccines they are sure are both safe and effective.
Are there side effects to the vaccine?
Yes, there are temporary side effects to the COVID-19 vaccination. These symptoms may include fever, headache, and myalgias. Symptoms typically resolve after 24 hours. More information on symptoms from the vaccine should surface from phase III clinical trial data.
However, the vaccines cannot cause COVID-19. The vaccines do not contain live or dead COVID-19 virus, so they are unable to infect you. While you can get infected between the time of vaccination and when the vaccine kicks in (about two weeks), infection is never the result of the COVID-19 vaccination.
How effective is the vaccine?
The mRNA vaccines work for 90% of people. That means 10% of those vaccinated will not have protection. That number may continue to grow as vaccines are administered to the public. This decrease in effectiveness is due to errors that can occur outside of a carefully controlled clinical setting. Additionally, scientists do not yet know whether a vaccinated person can transmit the virus to others. As such, people should continue to observe public health measures such as mask-wearing and social distancing.
Why should I get vaccinated?
Getting vaccinated will help individuals and communities stay safe. On the individual level, the vaccine protects against serious illness and death. On the community level, getting the vaccine helps lower the incidence of COVID-19 in the population. When COVID-19 cases decrease, schools, businesses, and other places of work can start to get back to normal functioning.
We also need a vaccine to protect those who have already been infected. Experts do not yet know how long a person is immune after getting sick from COVID-19, and they do not know if prior infection will make the next infection better or worse. Because there is little certainty when it comes to immunity from infection, getting the vaccine is the only way to make sure someone is truly protected from serious illness.
Additionally, the only way to safely achieve herd immunity is through vaccination. Allowing herd immunity to happen naturally will come at the expense of thousands of Minnesotan lives. The best way to reach herd immunity and get back to normalcy is through vaccination.
M Health Fairview, COVID-19 Vaccine Information
Minnesota Department of Health, COVID-19 Vaccine