Have you been on the fence about getting the COVID-19 vaccine? You are not alone. The percentage of Americans who have gotten the vaccine varies greatly depending on what part of the population you look at.
Despite systemic challenges, many members of underrepresented communities have chosen to get the vaccine. This can keep themselves and their communities safe and decrease the risk of serious illness. They are also helping prevent the emergence of new, potentially more dangerous variants.
It’s understandable if you are feeling hesitant about getting a COVID vaccine. That’s why we are here to answer your questions. Let’s address some concerns you may be having about getting the vaccine to help inform your decision.
Do the vaccines even work against the new COVID variants?
The vaccines offer protection against new variants that are spreading, according to current data. For instance, people who contract the delta variant are far less likely to get seriously ill or die if they have been vaccinated. Getting vaccinated now can also prevent new, potentially more dangerous variants from emerging later.
I heard I could get the vaccine and still get COVID. So, what’s the point?
Being vaccinated makes you far less likely to get COVID. If you are vaccinated and do get COVID, you are much less likely than an unvaccinated person to get very sick or need to go to the hospital.
I have a chronic disease. How do I know the vaccine is safe for me?
Many adults with chronic diseases were safely included in clinical trials for the vaccine. If you’re concerned about your specific situation, talk to your doctor about whether the COVID vaccine is right for you. If you have a chronic condition, COVID-19 poses a significant threat to your health. The vaccine helps to defend you against the virus. The more protection you can have, the better.
I had COVID, so don’t I already have protection?
If you’ve had COVID, it may mean your body is ready to fight future COVID-19 infections. Experts don’t yet know how long this defense might last. If you’ve had the virus, getting the vaccine will give you even better protection.
I’m afraid it will cost too much.
COVID vaccines are free to all people living in the United States. You do not have to be a citizen to get it. The vaccine should be offered to you at no cost.
I don’t know if I should trust the people who made this vaccine.
Maybe you’ve had bad experiences with doctors before. Or maybe your community’s history with healthcare makes you feel wary. It’s normal to have concerns about a new medication or vaccine. Take comfort in knowing that COVID vaccines have been studied in people of all racial and ethnic groups, ages, genders, and more. More than 4 billion doses have now been given worldwide.
Plus, not getting the vaccine leaves you—and your community—at increased risk for infection, illness, and even death from COVID. This is even more true as new variants spread. Protecting yourself by getting a vaccine gives you the best chance to avoid getting sick. It helps protect the people closest to you, too.
While COVID vaccines are new, they were made using science that has been around for decades. Lab researchers and trained scientists went through all the normal stages of clinical trials. COVID-19 vaccines are part of the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history.
I think the side effects might be worse than getting COVID.
Some people will have side effects from the COVID vaccine. This can happen as the immune system builds up a defense against the virus. Most of these side effects are minor and go away within a few days. You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine.
If you have a stronger side effect from the COVID-19 vaccine, it’s still more likely to be much safer than the COVID-19 virus itself. People who have had COVID are experiencing long-term side effects like lung damage, heart problems, and even sexual issues. It is statistically much safer to get the vaccine than it is to risk COVID-19 infection.
I’ve had allergic reactions to vaccines in the past.
It’s very, very rare, but sometimes people have allergic reactions to vaccines. If you have a history of reactions to vaccines, check in with your doctor to see if they believe this vaccine is safe for you. Ask the questions you need answered to help put your mind at ease.
How do I know the vaccine being offered in my community is legit?
Government-run vaccine sites and large pharmacy chains are legitimate sites you can visit to get your vaccine. You do not need to be a U.S. citizen or have health insurance to get a free vaccine.
Be wary if someone offers to sell you an appointment for a COVID vaccine. Offers to sign up to have the vaccine sent to you are also not valid. Use caution and seek further information if something seems fishy.
I’m pregnant. Should I wait until after the baby is born?
The CDC recommends that people who are pregnant get the vaccine. Pregnant and recently pregnant people are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 compared with non-pregnant people. Pregnant people who get COVID-19 are also at an increased risk for preterm birth. The data suggest that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh any known or potential risks of vaccination.
I’m not sure how to make an appointment; I’m not good with the computer.
Call your doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider. They can help connect you to a safe and secure vaccination site. The staff at these sites will help make the process easy for you.
I can’t afford the time off from work to get the shot or to deal with possible side effects.
It can be hard to find the time to get a vaccine. Getting COVID-19, however, can force you to miss work for days, weeks, or even months at a time. Consider asking your employer for a day or two off for your appointment. Remind your employer that getting the vaccine helps not just you but your coworkers, too.
If you can’t get the time off, try scheduling the appointment for the first of your usual days off. That way, if you have side effects from the vaccine, you’ll have more time off to rest afterward.
If you drive, you can schedule a drive-in vaccine at a time that works for you. You don’t even need to leave the car! Many pharmacies and clinics offer vaccine appointments in the evenings and on weekends for those who work weekdays.
I should wait for the people who “need it” to get it.
Now that the vaccine has been around for a while, there is no shortage of availability. Now is your time!