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When the time comes, be ready for the vaccine

  • Category: COVID-19
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When the time comes, be ready for the vaccine

Although COVID-19 vaccines are only available to a limited population in Monterey County right now, we expect that to change in the near future. When the vaccine becomes available to you, the doctors and nurses at Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System strongly encourage you to get it. Many of our frontline healthcare workers have already received the vaccine, and found it to be safe and with limited side effects.

Some people might have concerns about getting the COVID-19 vaccine due to the speed at which it was tested, produced and authorized. Mahendra Poudel, MD, an infectious disease specialist at Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System says that even though the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were developed quickly, routine processes and protocols remained in place to ensure safety and efficacy prior to vaccine approval and distribution.

“There are several benefits to receiving a COVID-19 vaccines once they become available to the general public,” explains Dr. Mahendra Poudel. “First of all you’re protecting yourself and those around you. Getting vaccinated is also our best shot at getting back to normal as soon as possible by lessening hospitalizations and allowing more businesses to re-open.”

The vaccine will keep you from getting COVID-19.

The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have shown in critical trials to substantially decrease the risk of catching COVID-19. “Based on what we know, even if you were to contract coronavirus, the vaccine will help keep you from becoming as sick as you would without it,” notes Dr. Poudel.

COVID-19 symptoms vary, and immunity is not guaranteed.

The symptoms and side effects of COVID-19 vary across age groups, genders, ethnicity and health status. There is no way to know how the COVID-19 virus will affect you. Although contracting the virus can provide some natural immunity, experts don’t know how long this protection lasts, so it is much safer to achieve immunity through vaccination rather than risk becoming sick with COVID-19 again.

The risks of the vaccine are low.

The vaccines that have been approved went through clinical trials with extensive testing. Since the vaccines began being distributed in mid-December, no safety concerns have been identified, and mild to moderate side effects have only been seen in some participants.

Wearing masks and social distancing are not enough.

Although these safety measures help reduce your risk of being exposed or spreading the coronavirus to others, they don’t do anything to help produce immunity to the virus. The COVID-19 vaccine will help protect you even if you catch the virus by creating an antibody response without experiencing the virus or corresponding illness. “Until we all have developed immunity, natural immunity or vaccine immunity, the vaccine combined with the CDC’s safety recommendations offers the best protection from COVID-19,” says Dr. Poudel.

To stop this pandemic, we need to use every weapon in our arsenal. Vaccinating yourself against COVID-19 will protect you and those around you from contracting the disease. Coupled with social distancing and mask safety measures, we will get closer to the mass immunity we need to return to normal life.

For more information about COVID-19 vaccinations, visit these resources:

CA.gov COVID-19 Vaccine Web Page

CDC Vaccine Web Page

SVMHS Vaccine Web Page

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