The Importance of Being Vaccinated
Now that California is opened up and we are getting a taste of normalcy, it’s important to stay healthy and do all we can to get closer to herd immunity. While much progress has been made in encouraging Californians to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations, as of spring 2021 some notable gaps remained. By late May 2021, close to 55 percent of the state’s residents had received at least one shot – with more than 93 percent of seniors in that category. At the same time, younger Californians seemed less motivated to be vaccinated – with just 28 percent of the state’s 16 and 17 year olds having received at least one shot.
Focus on receiving vaccinations has dropped off for other groups too – in some communities of color, among many lower-income people, and for some residents of inland counties. COVID-19 vaccinations in every community across California are of vital importance.
Experts tell us that to reach what is known as “community immunity,” 80 percent or more of a population needs to be fully vaccinated. For that reason, it’s important to be educated and keep vaccination awareness a high priority. People who have not received a shot may not be opposed to the idea – their attitude might better be described as complacent. With a few reminders and further education, many may choose to roll up their sleeve and take the shot. Here are a few reminders about the COVID-19 vaccine:
- COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. They were given to tens of thousands of participants in clinical trials. The vaccines met the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness and manufacturing quality needed to support emergency use authorization (EUA).
- Millions of people in the U.S. have received COVID-19 vaccines under the most intense safety monitoring in U.S. history. These vaccines have undergone and will continue to undergo intensive safety monitoring. This monitoring includes using both established and new safety monitoring systems to make sure that COVID-19 vaccines are safe.
- Serious safety problems are rare. To date, the systems in place to monitor the safety of these vaccines have found only two serious types of health problems after vaccination, both of which are rare. These are anaphylaxis and thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) after vaccination with J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine.
- A small number of people have had a severe allergic reaction (called “anaphylaxis”) after vaccination, but this is rare. Anaphylaxis can occur after any vaccination. If this occurs, vaccination providers have medicines available to effectively and immediately treat the reaction. After you get a COVID-19 vaccine, you will be asked to stay for 15-30 minutes so you can be observed in case you have a severe allergic reaction and need immediate treatment.
- None of the authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19.
- Serious effects that could cause a long-term health problem are extremely unlikely following any vaccination, including COVID-19 vaccination. Vaccine monitoring has historically shown that side effects generally happen within six weeks of receiving a vaccine dose. For this reason, the FDA required each of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines to be studied for at least two months (eight weeks) after the final dose. Millions of people have received COVID-19 vaccines, and no long-term side effects have been detected.
By acting together, we can protect our communities. Each COVID-19 shot is a step toward safeguarding our open economy, our social and cultural life, and the safety and security of sons, daughters, parents and children in each of California’s 58 counties. For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine and where to receive it, please visit: https://www.pihhealth.org/covid-19-information-resources/vaccines/.