Getting the COVID-19 vaccine is a matter of individual choice. However, certain employers, businesses, and venues may require vaccination, including international travel, some concerts and universities. Vaccinating the population to end this pandemic continues to be a race against time as the highly transmissible Delta variant gains traction, increasing hospitalization and death rates.
If you’re not yet vaccinated, here are some things to consider:
- The Pfizer vaccine is now fully FDA approved (and will now be called Comirnaty)
- 98.9% of those currently hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated
- 99.2% of those dying from COVID-19 are unvaccinated
- Average cost of a COVID-19 hospital stay for the insured: $38,221
- Average cost of a COVID-19 hospital stay for uninsured: $73,300
- With nearly 2 billion doses administered worldwide, COVID-19 vaccines have proven overwhelmingly safe and effective.
- 18 to 49-year-olds are making up a larger percentage of those hospitalized
- Many COVID-19 patients are experiencing long-term heart, brain, and lung problems
- Vaccines are 100% free and available without an appointment.
• The pandemic will likely not end until enough of the population is vaccinated and has immunity, so the virus can no longer gain traction.
• If enough people opt out of getting the vaccine, or choose to wait, the pandemic is prolonged, enabling more dangerous variants — like the Delta variant — to develop.
• Most scientists agree that about 70% of the population needs to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.
• As COVID-19 mutates, and more dangerous variants emerge, our currently authorized vaccines may become less effective at preventing infection. If we can achieve herd immunity, we can stop the spread of these dangerous variants before the colder months when we spend time indoors.
• If we want to keep business and schools open, travel freely, and continue to enjoy group gatherings, we need to stop the spread of COVID-19. The vaccine is how we stop it.
More information about COVID-19 vaccines
Consider the potential risks that come with COVID-19 infection versus the potential risks of vaccination.
Besides possible long-term hospitalization, complications, isolation, loss of work and even death, tens of thousands of people have lingering illness months after their COVID-19 infection. These long-suffering patients endure crushing fatigue, insomnia, trouble concentrating, shortness of breath, muscle pain and loss of taste and smell. Now some of them are finally seeing relief after getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) sped up the process, but did not skip steps in the rigorous approval process.
Some are concerned that the vaccines being distributed were authorized under FDA Emergency Use Authorization, but are not yet “approved.” It is important to understand the distinction.
There are two ways to get a vaccine greenlit by the FDA:
Get an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)
Get a license through a Biologics License Application (BLA)
The main difference is a longer observation period of clinical trial participants. To get authorized for EUA is an average of two months of observation, for an approved BLA, six months are required.
Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson have announced plans to apply for approval through BLA in 2021.
If vaccine side effects are going to occur, they usually happen within a few months of getting a vaccine.
While people are concerned about potential long-term side effects, they are simply not being reported by trial participants who are now a year post-vaccine, nor by the nearly 2 billion people worldwide who have received a vaccine (as of June 30, 2021).
All safety concerns are taken seriously, no matter how rare.
After six women of the 6.8 million people who received the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine reported getting blood clots, the FDA and CDC called for an immediate pause in the use of the vaccine on April 13. Despite the fact that the number of affected people was incredibly small, that the reaction was incredibly rare, the FDA and CDC acted swiftly to pause use. This pause gave scientists an opportunity to collect and study the data so they could evaluate safety concerns and develop appropriate treatment.
Information is being shared in an unprecedented way.
The pharmaceutical companies have been transparent with their process to build confidence in their vaccines. We know exactly what is in the vaccines (see the FAQ on vaccine ingredients), how many clinical trial participants experienced side effects, the age and ethnicity of trial participants, and even which vaccines were abandoned during the process and why.
Find more answers to common vaccine questions.