Know the facts, so you can make the best decision.
There is a lot of concern over whether or not one should get the COVID-19 vaccine. With the number of deaths and infections rising, it is hard to come up with a good reason not to. Nevertheless, there is a slew of misinformation circulating around the world. It is important to do our research and gather all of the facts in order to make an informed decision.
Part of making an informed decision means weighing the pros and cons. It’s true that all vaccines come with some risk. However, negative reactions are extremely rare. Plus, all of the vaccines have undergone rigorous clinical trials in order to prove they are safe and effective.
Benefits of the COVID-19 Vaccine
Benefit #1: Preventing disease and mortality
The COVID-19 vaccine may lower your risk of getting COVID-19. Even if you do get sick with COVID-19, you’ll most likely get a very mild version of it. Among people who have already gotten the vaccine, hospitalizations and deaths have been almost nonexistent.
Tests show that the vaccines on the market are 94 to 95 percent effective, which are some of the best numbers ever seen for vaccines.
Benefit #2: Reducing the risk to others
Say you get the COVID-19 vaccine, but you later test positive for the infection. You will likely have a milder form of the disease with fewer (or no) symptoms. When this happens, you will likely shed fewer virus particles. A lower viral load (the amount of virus in someone’s blood) often results in a milder infection—or no infection at all.
To put it another way, your vaccination may help protect others from serious COVID-19.
Benefit #3: Reaching herd immunity safely
The COVID-19 vaccine will promote herd immunity. This is where enough people have the antibodies to the virus, so the infection has nowhere to spread. There are two ways to achieve herd immunity: naturally or with a vaccine. Natural herd immunity is when everyone simply gets the disease.
The reason vaccination is better is because COVID-19 can have serious complications, and there is no way to know how it will affect a person. COVID-19 could kill you, whereas the vaccine may just cause mild side effects. In other words, herd immunity by vaccination is much safer than letting everyone have COVID-19 itself.
Benefit #4: Getting back to “normal” life
When more people are vaccinated, COVID-19 cases should start to drop. Returning to normal might not be immediate: Even after the vaccine, people will still need to wear their masks for a while. However, once cases start to fall, masks may be able to come off, you’ll be able to attend concerts and festivals again, and you won’t have to worry about when you can see your family again.
You may have a lot of questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, and it’s good to seek out more information. Find out what you should know about the COVID-19 vaccine here. For more information, check out your state or local health department website, or talk to your doctor.
Stella A. Safo, MD, is an HIV primary care physician and assistant professor of Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital.