The COVID-19 vaccine is safe

Maren VanOsdol '22, Page Editor

One year ago life was normal (mostly) then in mid-March everything was turned upside down as the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly swept across the United States. Before long, it became clear that the only way we could get back to life as we know it would be with the introduction of a safe Covid-19 vaccine. But conventional wisdom said vaccine development takes years and in fact we’ve never developed a successful vaccine for any coronavirus. Yet less than a year later two vaccines have been approved in the US with a 3rd one not far behind. But many people are concerned about a vaccine that is almost as new as the virus itself. Of course the unpredictable nature of the virus is a concern, but what about possible side effects of a vaccine? What if it doesn’t work? What if the cure is worse than the disease?
Despite all the concern surrounding the vaccine and its possible effects, the fact is that the vaccines approved in the US are thoroughly tested and verified to be not only safe but harmless despite possibly minor side effects. Getting the vaccine as soon as you are allowed to is a choice to not only help yourself but the public at large. In fact, my 77 year old Grandma just got the vaccine and she is reportedly having no side effects.
For years now we’ve heard about “anti-vaxxers”, parents that refuse to give their babies vaccines for diseases like mumps and polio that have been safely administered to babies for decades. Of course in today’s heated climate where even masks become politicized, there are swarms of misinformation going around about the Covid-19 vaccines.
Let’s talk about the facts of the vaccine. Yes the vaccines were developed in record time, but that’s thanks to a variety of factors including existing research, government incentives, and accelerated review & approval processes. These vaccines were still tested on tens of thousands of people alongside placebos with everyone closely monitored. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) still approved them just like any other vaccine.
Once enough people have successfully taken both doses of the vaccine, combined with people that have already had Covid-19, we can achieve herd immunity, aka normal life.
Yes, you *might* still get Covid-19 after taking the vaccine, but there’s a 96 percent chance you won’t and even if you do, the likelihood of having severe health problems is greatly reduced. “Vaccines will work with your immune system so it will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed,” according to the Center for Disease Control, (CDC). It’s like the flu shot–maybe you got the flu one year even though you took it but it was probably less severe, if you even caught it.
Of course not everyone can get the vaccine at the same time, so don’t burn your mask for at least several months. And right now the priority is getting it to those more vulnerable to COVID-19: the elderly. So it will be a while before those of us under eighteen get it but that’s only right. Maybe by next fall we’ll all be able to go to concerts and sporting events, but most likely even then attendance will still be limited. But the vaccines are the beginning of the end of this terrible time that’s separated us from friends, family, and life as we know it. There’s no reason anyone should hesitate to do what’s right for themselves and everyone around them and get the vaccine as soon as we can.