January 1, 2021
COVID-19 vaccines are finally here! After battling the pandemic for the better part of a year, enduring lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, maintaining social distancing, forgoing holiday gatherings with loved ones and wearing masks whenever you leave your home, the COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed — and people have started receiving these lifesaving, preventive shots.
While the vaccines are currently only available in limited quantities for frontline health care workers, essential personnel and those who are especially susceptible to the virus, the day is quickly approaching when all Americans will be eligible to receive their vaccination. It is highly recommended that everyone receives the vaccine.
How do we know the vaccines are safe?
COVID-19 vaccines are both safe and effective. They cannot infect you with COVID-19 disease, as these mRNA vaccines do not use the live virus that causes COVID-19. The COVID-19 vaccines instruct our cells to make a harmless piece of “spike protein,” which can be found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19. Our immune system can recognize this protein, builds an immune response and makes antibodies, which is like what would happen in a natural infection against COVID-19.
The COVID-19 vaccines must meet the same rigorous safety and effectiveness standards as all other types of vaccines in the United States (U.S.). Due to the urgent need for a vaccine to end the pandemic, the decision was made for testing and production of the vaccine to occur simultaneously, but no safety steps were skipped. Only those COVID-19 vaccines that meet these high standards will be made available for use in the U.S. (by U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval or emergency use authorization).
Can I afford the vaccine?
Importantly, Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance will cover the cost of the vaccine.
Where can I learn more about my state’s vaccination plan?
Visit your state government’s official website for information on the distribution plan for vaccines in your state.
What happens when it’s time for me to get vaccinated?
When the opportunity arises for you to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, here are a few things that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has outlined for you to expect:
It has been a long and difficult 11 months as we have battled this pandemic. The only way to end it is to ensure that everyone receives the vaccination. Protect yourself, your family and community by getting your vaccine at the earliest opportunity available.