Evidence shows COVID-19 vaccine is safe

As vaccines against COVID-19 become more widely available in Webster County, we are having trouble finding arms to vaccinate. One of the most common reasons I have been hearing lately is that we don’t know enough about the vaccine. It was too rushed. It’s too new. This is a perfectly reasonable excuse. Some people are excited to try the latest and greatest things, while others prefer to wait for all of the bugs to be identified and worked out before taking the leap. Personally, I am not a risk taker.

So why is this different for me? Why do I feel 100 percent comfortable and confident in recommending these COVID-19 vaccines to my parents, my friends, and my patients? Let’s explore what we do know, and I think you will find we know a lot more than you’d expect.

Vaccines are not new. The way they work is ultimately the same, no matter how the vaccine itself is designed: we prompt your body to launch a small immune response to a pesky microbe (or more commonly, just a piece of it) so your body will remember it in the future. This way, if you come in contact with that sickness later, your body will take care of it before it gets too far,

So how fast is too fast for a vaccine to be developed? As it turns out, we know from our vast history of vaccine use that side effects, including those that cause long term effects, will surface within six weeks of receiving a vaccine. Trials were designed to go for eight weeks after the second dose of vaccine to be extra cautious in catching these potential side effects. Our COVID-19 vaccines passed with flying colors.

Then there are the scary and severe ”one-in-a-million” side effects to worry about. We have now given over 200 million doses of vaccines, which is plenty for us to see these side effects surface. In the case of Johnson & Johnson , we saw rare, but serious blood clots accompanied by low platelets, and we caught this before 7 million doses were given. Moderna and Pfizer vaccines did not have this problem. Another rare and serious side effect we worry about is anaphylaxis. Between the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines we have seen between two and five cases per million doses. This is why we ask you to stay for 15 to 30 minutes after receiving the vaccine, as we are equipped to manage these allergic reactions.

I hope this information can ease your mind and reopen the doors to consider receiving the vaccine. At Daniel Pharmacy, we are happy to answer any questions you may have as you make this decision.

Christine Lawson, is a Pharm D candidate at the University of Iowa in Iowa City who is currently working at Daniel Pharmacy in Fort Dodge.


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