A lot has happened in the area of COVID-19 prevention since the beginning of the pandemic. Now, there are three vaccines available for people 16 years and older in the U.S., with the Pfizer vaccine now fully approved by the FDA. Moderna and J&J vaccines continue to be available under emergency use authorization (EUA). Moderna has applied for full approval, and J&J is expected to do so before the end of 2021. In addition, the CDC announced the authorization of boosters for all three vaccines in specific groups, and you can learn more at the CDC websites to see if you qualify.
For children, the vaccine news continues to expand. In October 2021, an FDA advisory panel voted in favor of recommending a lower dose of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. The vaccine is expected to be authorized for this age group in November 2021. With this milestone, all school-age children will be eligible for vaccination since in May 2021, the FDA authorized emergency use of the Pfizer vaccine in children 12-17.
It’s an exciting and hopeful time because there is an abundance of evidence to support the role of these vaccines in preventing severe illness and death for COVID-19.
Here are ten compelling and fact-based reasons and benefits of getting vaccinated as soon as you can.
What are the advantages of the COVID-19 vaccine?
Reason 1: The COVID-19 Vaccine is Free & Available to Everyone
You can receive your vaccination for free in the USA, regardless of your immigration or health insurance status. To make your appointment, use this “Vaccine Finder” tool by the CDC to find vaccine providers near you.
There are currently three effective vaccines authorized by the FDA in the United States. If you’re wondering which one to take, take the one that’s offered to you. They’re each effective at preventing severe illness and death from COVID-19.
Is the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not mandate vaccination. However, your state, local government, or employer may require or mandate COVID-19 vaccination. It will depend on your state or other applicable laws.
Is there anyone who should not receive the COVID-19 Vaccine, such as children or those with underlying medical conditions?
Overall, it’s recommended to get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you can. Widespread vaccination is a critical tool to help stop the pandemic.
Everyone 12 years of age and older are now eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccination. COVID-19 vaccines have been used under the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history, including studies in children 12 years and older. Studies for children 12 and younger are ongoing, but should be released in late 2021.
Adults with underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness caused by COVID-19. As a result, COVID-19 vaccines are recommended for and can be administered to most people with underlying medical conditions.
Reason 2: The COVID-19 Vaccine is Effective
The COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States effectively prevent COVID-19, as shown in clinical trial settings.
Does the vaccine prevent COVID?
A recent CDC study that followed nearly 4,000 healthcare workers showed that the vaccine is 90% effective at preventing COVID-19 infection. Overall, the three effective vaccines authorized by the FDA have been shown to protect against COVID and its variants.
Although it’s possible to contract COVID-19 while fully vaccinated, being vaccinated significantly decreases your likelihood of severe illness and death.
Does the COVID-19 vaccine keep you from spreading COVID?
The CDC is still studying how well vaccines are able to prevent you from spreading COVID-19 to others, even if you do not have symptoms. Currently, early data show that vaccines do help keep people with no symptoms from spreading COVID-19.
Long story short – it works!
Reason 3: Research backs the COVID-19 Vaccines.
Although it feels like the COVID-19 vaccine was developed quickly, the research that helped create the vaccine didn’t happen overnight. The groundwork that made the vaccine possible has been in progress for decades.
One of the COVID-19 vaccine heroes is Katalin Kariko. For her entire 40-year scientific career, Dr. Kariko has focused on messenger RNA’s (mRNA’s) medical potential. It’s her research on mRNA that allowed for the creation of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Visit the CDC website to learn more about how the mRNA vaccine works.
Reason 4: US Food & Drug Administration Authorized COVID-19 Vaccine Use
The FDA is responsible for regulating vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccines. FDA employees are scientists and doctors who decide to authorize COVID-19 vaccines after rigorously reviewing the data on COVID-19 vaccine safety, effectiveness, risk, and manufacturing quality.
The US has a robust approval process to ensure that all licensed vaccines are safe for distribution. Each brand of COVID-19 vaccine is held to the same strict safety and effectiveness standards as all other types of vaccines in the United States.
Reason 5: Vaccines Can Protect Those Around You
When you get vaccinated, you are protecting your family and your community against vaccine-preventable diseases and illnesses.
For example, many vaccines help create immunity against infectious diseases such as measles, Polio, HepA, and more.
Beyond getting your COVID vaccine, remember to get vaccine check-ups with your doctor every few years. For example, you need a tetanus vaccine every ten years, and whooping cough (Tdap) is often spread to children from unvaccinated adults.
Talk to your doctor about what other adult vaccines you may need.
Reason 6: Schools & Universities Can Reopen
Attending school in person is an integral part of every student’s learning, growth, and personal development. The pandemic led to the suspension of in-person learning causing students of all ages to experience learning loss and increased rates of depression and anxiety.
By ensuring that teachers, families, and students get vaccinated, everyone can return to school safely and ensure they get the important education they need.
Reason 7: Vaccines can Protect You from Long-Term Health Consequences
Although most people with COVID-19 recover from illness, some are left with lasting health impacts known as “long COVID.” Some examples of post-COVID conditions include fatigue, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, cough, fever, loss of smell or taste, dizziness, and more.
Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I had COVID-19?
Yes! If you had COVID-19 already, the vaccine will protect you from getting sick with COVID-19 again in the long run.
And if you’re enduring long-term COVID effects, research from Yale Medicine shows that getting the vaccination can decrease long-term COVID effects and health impacts in people who recovered.
The best way to prevent these long-term health effects is to prevent COVID-19 by lowering your risk level by taking safety measures like mask-wearing, social distancing, and getting your vaccination as soon as it becomes available to you.
A recent CDC study showed that the COVID-19 vaccines are 90% effective at preventing infection. Make sure you protect your immune system and long-term health by getting vaccinated.
Reason 8: Enough Vaccinated People Can Create Herd Immunity
The phrase ‘herd immunity’ means that enough people in a community are protected from getting a disease because they’ve already had the disease or been vaccinated.
Herd immunity makes it harder for the disease to spread and can help protect those who cannot be vaccinated. Overall, getting vaccinated makes it harder for the virus to travel between people, making everyone safer and ultimately saving lives.
While experts still aren’t sure what percentage of people need to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity, vaccination is a safer and more effective way to build immunity than getting sick with COVID-19.
Reason 9: You Can Become a Power of Example for Others
Vaccine hesitancy exists when people are unsure or don’t have all their questions answered about the vaccine. Telling your community that you got vaccinated can help them feel safe and empowered to get their shot as soon as they’re eligible.
Take Country Star Dolly Parton, for example. She’s a lifelong philanthropist and donated $1 million dollars to Vanderbilt University Medical Center to support vaccine development.
To spark interest and combat vaccine hesitancy, she also did a rendition of her famous song “Jolene” as “Vaccine”. She sang:
“Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, I’m begging of you please don’t hesitate. Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, ’cause once you’re dead then that’s a bit too late.”
When you get vaccinated, make sure to share with others so you can provide reassurance, answer questions about your experience, and set an example for those around you. Join millions of people in getting your vaccine.
Reason 10: Vaccinations are the Fastest Way to Get Back to Normal
If you miss the way things used to be before COVID, the fastest way to get things back to normal is by getting your vaccine.
The more people get a vaccine, the more effective it is for the overall population. In contrast, if not enough people receive it, the more flare-ups of the disease there will be over time.
If you’re ready to get back to normal, encourage your friends and family to get the vaccine when they can.
Remember: Strong confidence in the vaccines within communities leads to more people getting vaccinated, which leads to fewer COVID-19 illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths. To help inspire trust and vaccine confidence, share this article with someone who may have questions or concerns regarding getting vaccinated against COVID.
Vaccines can be the difference between life and death. Save lives by getting vaccinated as soon as you are eligible.