As long as there have been vaccines there has been vaccine opposition. Some people must, unfortunately, avoid vaccinations due to having a high risk of potential allergic reactions. However, for most people the benefits of vaccination far outweigh any personal risk.
We pulled some of our community’s most frequently stated concerns about the vaccine and why they may be hesitant to get a vaccine. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is a personal choice, but it is a safe choice.
“I think the COVID-19 vaccines were created too fast.”
Dr. Catherine O’Neal, Our Lady of the Lake chief medical officer and infectious disease expert, marvels at the speed at which the vaccines were developed. Development of the mRNA vaccines, manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna, were 15-20 years in the making, built on some scientists’ life’s work and were ready just in time for the pandemic. Dr. O’Neal compares the vaccines’ development to the LSU National Championship football team and notes that years of work go into athletic success just as years of work have gone into the success of the COVID-19 vaccines’ development. An entire scientific community turned its attention to the problem of COVID-19, and the three safe and effective vaccines are a result of that cohesive, worldwide effort and investment.
“I don’t think the vaccines are safe.”
The scientific evidence is clear that vaccines are safe and vaccinated patients are well protected from the worst outcomes of COVID-19. More than 346 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the U.S. under the most intense safety monitoring in our history. Serious side effects are rare and treatable.
“I am afraid of vaccine side effects.”
Side effects from getting a COVID-19 vaccine do exist, but they are typically mild and manageable. As with other vaccines, the most frequently reported side effects include injection site pain, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever or nausea. These short-lived symptoms can be signs of your body’s immune system activating, but many vaccinated people experience no side effects and are still protected.
“I don’t want to get a COVID-19 vaccine because it might affect my fertility.”
There is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine or any vaccine can impact male or female fertility. However, a lot of data shows a higher risk of poor outcomes for pregnant people and their babies who become infected with COVID-19. Studies have found increased risk of pre-term birth, C-section delivery and pre-eclampsia in pregnant patients with COVID-19 infections. Making the decision to get vaccinated now can protect your health and the health of your future children.
“I don’t want anyone telling me what to do.”
Getting a vaccine, or really making any medical decision, is a personal choice that should be made in consultation with a healthcare provider. COVID-19 vaccines are not mandated by any government, although some companies and universities are requiring them for their employees and students.