So, let’s talk about these concerns and do some “shared decision making” together. It is, of course, your choice what to do and it is our responsibility as your medical team to make sure you have all the information you need to make the right choice. That’s what you trust us to provide. So, let’s address some potential concerns & questions we have heard from patients:
“The COVID vaccine is new and I’m worried it has unknown side effects”
Although this is a new type of vaccine, it has been in development for many years. It does NOT get into your DNA or make any changes to your DNA. Even if there were unknown dangers which did not show up in testing before approval, over 250 million vaccine doses have now been given to Americans (over a billion worldwide!) and any issues would have shown up by now (see next point). If you were waiting for others to go first, that is no longer a valid excuse.
“I heard there is a risk of blood clots”
Above it was noted that if there were any concerns with the vaccine we would certainly learn about them after so many vaccinations - and this blood clot issue proves that point. Research has shown that very rarely (about every 1,000,000 vaccinations), a patient who receives the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will develop a very unusual type of blood clot. Think of the risk this way. If you have ever been to an OSU game (or watched one on TV) you know how crowded the Horseshoe is on game day. Imagine 9 more stadiums just like it built all over the campus - and all of them full. If everyone in all of those stadiums got the vaccine, only one person would get this weird type of clot. If, instead, nobody got the vaccine and everyone got COVID, about 5,000 people would die - that’s more than 10 stadium sections worth of people. If you are concerned about this issue (especially if you are a woman under 50) then consider getting the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, but please don’t avoid the vaccines entirely.
“I’m not in a high risk group, so if I get COVID, it likely it won’t be as severe”
Yes, this is true but it is only part of the story. If you are under 65 your chance of dying of COVID is indeed a lot lower. Your chance of death is still a lot higher than zero with this virus, but certainly lower than those much older than you. In fact, a lot of young people have died of COVID-19 despite that low risk. Many more are hospitalized but survive. And many tens of thousands have “long-hauler” symptoms which have kept them from enjoying life to its fullest or even prevented them from working. The disease is also known to do permanent damage to lungs and even brain tissue in a lot of people, regardless of age.
“Getting the vaccine is too much of a hassle, I’m too busy!”
We understand - getting the vaccine can be a hassle. Within COPC we have tried to schedule plenty of clinics at various times including weekends. Check out copcp.com for details and also links to other places you can get the vaccine which might be closer or otherwise more convenient. We don’t care where you get it, just that you do.
“But I heard it makes your arm sore, a friend had a sore arm for 3 days when she got it!”
Yep, this might well happen. It will get better soon and having a sore arm for a day or two is certainly better than getting really sick with COVID.
“I had another friend who had fever and a lot of fatigue for a day after the shot”
A lot of people have some fatigue or even some more acute symptoms like fever. Actually, that lets you know that your immune system is working and the vaccine should do a good job protecting you. If you do get these symptoms, it is a great excuse to take a nap and relax. And, as with “Sore Arm” (above) it is way better than getting COVID. At this point (as of May 1st) COPC had given over 25,000 vaccines with very few significant reactions.
“I’m going to wait until getting the vaccine will allow me to take my mask off”
It is very likely that the CDC will further relax masking requirements for vaccinated people. When they do, you will be able to remove that mask right away (since you got the shot!) and not have to wait.
“I heard you can get COVID from the vaccine”
There is no possible way any of the currently available vaccines can give you COVID. None are “live virus” vaccines and none are even “killed virus” vaccines.
“I heard the vaccine contains an implantable tracking chip”
This issue sounds a bit silly to medical people so we sometimes don’t address it but we should since there is so much false information out there about this concern. Here is the truth. NO, there is not a chip in the vaccine. Just look at it when they draw it up - it is clear. The smallest GPS / tracking chip is much larger and quite visible. If you want to see the size of a GPS chip, simply break open the phone you carry everywhere with you and look. (Just kidding, please don’t break your phone).