Just the facts: Resources for your COVID-19 vaccine questions

Senior man getting vaccine from health professional - Vitality

One must wonder if we would have been as successful in eradicating diseases such as polio and smallpox if there had been such easy access to information (unfortunately much of it incorrect), with arm chair “experts” furthering rumors and scientifically inaccurate information via social media.

In a riff from Dragnet’s Joe Friday, it’s more critical than ever that we stick with “just the facts.” In keeping with our core purpose to make people healthier and enhance and protect their lives, we’re doing our part to educate our clients and members on just that.

In fact, we’ve just launched a new toolkit to help our clients and their members educate and encourage people to get vaccinated so that we can more quickly get through the pandemic.

Before considering vaccine information on the Internet, make sure the information comes from a credible source. Also, this is a new virus, and researchers and the medical community are learning new things every day, so make sure the information is recent or being updated on a regular basis. To help, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most frequently asked questions along with our go-to sources to offer evidence-based and carefully vetted answers to keep you and your family safe during the pandemic.

Why is it important to receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

The only way we will get through this pandemic is by achieving herd immunity. The fastest way to realize this is by everyone getting vaccinated and the COVID-19 vaccines are critical to ending the pandemic. Learn more on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website. The content is based on peer-reviewed science and offers a wealth of information about getting vaccinated and frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccines.

Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe and effective?

Vaccine development has moved quickly so it’s understandable that some people may have concerns about the process. Vaccine developers follow a strict scientific and regulatory process to bring a new product to patients, even during the current pandemic. The vaccine development process has been reviewed and approved for safety at every phase and the FDA offers information, and COVID Vaccine Facts offers a searchable resource with regularly updated and easy-to-understand information.

Does it matter which of the COVID-19 vaccines I receive?

No. All vaccines approved or authorized in the United States have gone through rigorous clinical trials and been thoroughly tested. So, the best vaccine to get is the one that is available to you first as all of the vaccines being offered have been proven to be effective preventing COVID.

What are the side effects of the vaccines?

A COVID-19 vaccine can cause mild side effects after the first or second dose, such as pain, redness or swelling where the shot was given, fever and fatigue. The Mayo Clinic has developed a very thorough fact sheet with a comprehensive answer to this and many other vaccine questions.

After I’m vaccinated can I safely visit with friends and family?

After getting vaccinated, it’s still important to continue to take safety precautions, such as avoiding close contact with others, wearing a mask, and practicing good hygiene to prevent the spread of the virus that causes coronavirus. Further research is needed to understand the immunity that a COVID-19 vaccine provides, how long protection lasts and whether you can spread the virus even if you are vaccinated. We need additional data before experts will consider changing current safety recommendations. The Cleveland Clinic offers factors that must be considered including weighing the benefits against the risks and impact of chronic loneliness.

We hope you’ll find the links to the credible resources helpful and insightful as we all must do our parts to learn the facts. In addition to our new tools and resources, we’ll continue this COVID-19 series on our blog. You can find lots of great information from previous posts here, here and here!

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