Getting the Covid-19 vaccination? Here’s how to stay informed

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woman receives Covid-19 vaccination

Hollyn Quiller, News Editor

The Covid-19 pandemic reached the United States in February 2020, leading to lockdowns and business closures. Fear struck many Americans as they waited for fellow leaders and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to release information on how to deal with the pandemic. As vaccinations were developed, a wide range of emotions were felt by the American people. Now, the long-awaited Covid-19 vaccine has been released, leading to a massive stir of questions ranging from its effectiveness to its safety.

“Some people are hesitant about the COVID-19 vaccine, which is reasonable,” said Jennifer Hulsey, Health Science Coordinator. “As a former healthcare practicing nurse, I feel it’s imperative for everyone to consider the pros and cons of receiving the vaccine.” 

The Covid-19 vaccination is recommended to anyone over the age of 16. This means that teenagers, as well as adults, can look into the vaccination.  However, the vaccine does have certain risks that go along with it. Prior to receiving the vaccine, individuals can understand how it can benefit not only themselves but everyone around them by learning more about it through research. Individuals are able to be aware of side effects that may appear as well as any possible allergic reactions. 

“People should be educated, with the most commonly reported side effects, which typically lasted several days; pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain and fever,” said Hulsey. “These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building immunity. There have been a few allergic reactions reported, which required a dose of epinephrine.”

Each vaccination is reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA reviews a vaccination’s safety by selecting volunteers to receive the vaccine. After much research and testing, the vaccination is released. For the Covid-19 specifically, the vaccine was tested on around 30,000 volunteers. Now that the vaccine has been released, each state has a plan for prioritizing and distributing vaccines. 

“We need to be aware that the full effects from these vaccinations won’t occur for a few weeks after the 2nd injection (which is given 2-3 weeks after the 1st injection),” said Kristen Worrell, health science Teacher. “Social distancing, masks and hand washing still need to occur because you are still building your own immunity and you don’t know if others around you have been vaccinated or not.”

The Moderna vaccine is 94 percent effective after receiving two full doses no matter the patient’s age or weight. The Pfizer vaccine is 95 percent effective after receiving two full doses.  This means that there have been people diagnosed with Covid-19 even after receiving a vaccination. Receiving the vaccination does not mean that one is completely safe. Precautions are still necessary to protect one’s self and others from the virus. 

“Education is key,” said Worrell. “Talk to your doctor if you have any underlying medical condition or if you are taking medication that can interfere/interact with the vaccine.”