Mar. 17, 2022

There's Still Good Reason to Get Vaccinated

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Two years down and COVID-19 still affects all our lives. Variants like Delta and Omicron heighten the stress associated with the unknowns that COVID-19 brings. Those variants and the risk they pose are just one reason why everyone is encouraged to get vaccinated and then receive a booster dose when eligible. The World Health Organization says: "We know that vaccination saves lives. We know that it prevents disease."

Vaccines work by stimulating an immune response in the body, which can be measured by measuring antibodies in blood or saliva. Antibodies help fight infection by recognizing foreign invaders such as bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens. The more antibodies you have, the better your chances of fighting off an infection.

Vaccines Work and are Safe

Scientific evidence shows vaccines offer huge benefits in keeping people safe from COVID-19. The data proves that vaccination reduces hospitalizations and deaths from the illness. The vaccines have been carefully tested through clinical trials before receiving authorization. Plus, the FDA and CDC continue watching the vaccine for people who experience adverse effects.

Mild side effects reported from the vaccine seem to outweigh the risks. A few days of fever and soreness at the injection site is common. Other mild symptoms include headache, muscle aches, runny nose, cough, sneezing, fatigue, and loss of appetite. But these symptoms usually go away within a few days. Illness from COVID-19 can carry significantly more serious symptoms that could last from 2 days to several weeks.

Some patients are even reporting lingering symptoms after the typical 2-week sickness. This is referred to as long COVID-19. Doctors are working to better understand long COVID-19 and how to treat it by continuing to do research into the small percentage of COVID patients who turn into "long-haulers."

mRNA Technology and Research

A timeline of mRNA technology and research are shared by Brookings Health System. It shows this technology has been around for at least 20 years. Research on mRNA technology, like that used in the COVID-19 vaccine, started in the 1990s. Then in the early 2000s, scientists at the University of Pennsylvania figured out how to create an immune response in our bodies when using vaccines made with mRNA technology.

Brookings Health explains in their article, "Human trials of cancer vaccines using mRNA have been taking place since 2011. Vaccines made with mRNA do not alter your DNA nor do they cause you to become sick with COVID-19. In fact, because mRNA technology can be deployed so quickly and clinical trials have been so successful, we'll likely see new mRNA vaccines in the future."

Will We Need a Booster Vaccination?

There is increasing data that suggests booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will be necessary to provide protection against the virus and future variants. After getting vaccinated, the protection decreases over time and may be less effective. Getting a booster shot will heighten the protection level for your immune system and result in your body having a better chance of fighting off the virus.

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