You have questions about the COVID-19 Vaccines. That’s good. It’s normal to be cautious when something new comes along. Getting informed about COVID-19 vaccines is an important step to help us stop this pandemic.
“As healthcare providers, we would not have gotten the vaccine ourselves and encouraged our families and friends to get vaccinated unless we were completely confident in the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines,” shared Dr. David Polzin, Family Medicine Physician at GRHS. “Please trust us as your medical staff on this.” Glacial Ridge Medical Staff got their first shots in December, among the earliest wave of U.S. healthcare personnel who could get it.
Many in the community who have not been vaccinated yet are uncomfortable about getting the shot for various reasons. You may be concerned about its safety – side effects and its long-term effects – or maybe you’ve had Covid-19, so you aren’t sure if you need the vaccine at this time. These are some legitimate questions and concerns. To help clear up the confusion, we’re here to help. As healthcare providers, we encourage you to seek answers from reliable, trusted resources. There are links to additional resources throughout.
Dr. Thomas Haus, Family Medicine Physician at GRHS agrees, “As with anything new we’re learning about, consider the source you trust and question what you read, view, or hear on social media. Then, compare it with researched, peer-reviewed facts of what the medical community knows about COVID-19 and the vaccines at this time. The medical scientists and epidemiologists at these agencies are the very people we trust for all other infectious diseases, immunizations, and disease treatment.”
Why is the Delta Variant Worse?
The Delta variant, more detrimental to both individual health and community impact, is making headlines because the virus has had the ability to mutate. The Delta variant affects younger adults and kids more than the original COVID-19 strain, at a more aggressive pace. As a result, it has caused more severe illness than previous strains in unvaccinated people. That is what all viruses do. They mutate into other, more potent strains. Then the most robust strain survives because it finds new hosts. That is why wide-ranging vaccination is important and how it works to stop contagious diseases.
Here is what we know about vaccines and the COVID-19 vaccines now FDA approved or under Emergency Use Authorization and close to receiving full FDA approval:
- Vaccines have eradicated smallpox, nearly eliminated polio and chickenpox, and diminished the impact of many other diseases.
- No vaccines provide 100% protection. The COVID-19 vaccine, however, offers more protection than any of our current vaccines for other diseases in the world.
- Fully vaccinated people with breakthrough infections from this variant appear to be infectious for a shorter period and do not get as sick.
- While there are indeed very rare complications from any vaccine, the COVID-19 vaccines are safer and with less frequent side effects than any vaccine we have had previously, including the measles and mumps vaccine.
- Without the vaccine, given the current surge of new variants and the rising incidence of infection in the state and country, you are much more likely to become ill and die or suffer severe long-term effects from infection (heart, lung, etc.) from COVID-19 than you are to have a rare side effect of the vaccine.
- You should get vaccinated even if you had COVID-19. While having had the disease offers some protection against future infection, the level of protection varies as it did with chickenpox before the vaccine. Natural immunity also wanes and doesn’t protect as well against new strains as the vaccine itself. In fact, getting a vaccine after having had the coronavirus gives their immune system a vital boost.
- These vaccines can’t change your DNA at all. Some people have misunderstood what mRNA is and how it works and believe that this approach can alter your DNA. There is no interference to your DNA.
- The vaccine doesn’t affect your fertility. The CDC reports that there’s currently no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems.
- All pregnant individuals – along with recently pregnant, planning to become pregnant, lactating and other eligible individuals – are strongly urged to be vaccinated against COVID-19 per the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM).
- The CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics continues to recommend the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for all adolescents aged ≥12 years
Personal Decisions Affect Others
Dr. Haus stated, “The COVID-19 vaccines are a miracle of modern science.” He added, “They are very safe to get and highly effective in preventing infection, hospitalizations, and deaths from the worst pandemic in 100 years.”
Many people still have questions. Keep in mind that three hundred sixty million doses have already been given in the United States, and there is a growing body of evidence daily in the efficacy and safety of this vaccine.
“Getting vaccinated is a personal decision. But, as history is writing itself, choosing not to get vaccinated against COVID-19 is a decision that impacts everyone,” said Dr. Polzin. Please trust your provider. The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.
Vaccine Hotline at GRHS
If you would like to get your first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, the easiest way to get scheduled is to call Glenwood Medical Center’s COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline at 320.331.2121. Leave your name, date of birth, and best number to reach you. Receptionists will call you to schedule a vaccine appointment.
Additional Resources for Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), Myths and Facts
COVID-19 Vaccine Myths and Facts including FAQs such as: What’s in the vaccine? If I had COVID, why do I need the shot?
How was the COVID-19 vaccine developed so quickly? And other FAQs from John Hopkins Medicine.