Why you shouldn’t wait to get a COVID-19 vaccine
The rollout of the highly effective COVID-19 vaccines across the country is giving hope to many that the end of the pandemic is near. But as the vaccines have arrived, so have a lot of questions. Are they safe? Do they work? Do I really need to get one? Can I just “wait and see” how they work for other people before I decide?
But in California, confirmed cases, hospitalizations, and COVID-19-related deaths are still very high. The vaccine is one of the best tools for reducing all of those. While the risk is very low, people can still get COVID-19 after being vaccinated (just like a flu shot), but the vaccine will keep them from getting severely ill.
The COVID-19 vaccines are one of our best tools for ending the pandemic. And right now, they are definitely our best tool for getting life back to normal.
Why you should not wait to vaccinate
The sooner you get vaccinated, the sooner life can return to being more normal. It’s not just about keeping you and those around you safe. Waiting too long to get vaccinated will allow COVID-19 to keep spreading and may lead to new and more dangerous variants emerging.
Here are a few more reasons why you shouldn't wait to get vaccinated:
- Herd immunity to COVID-19 is crucial. If a large number of people are immune to the disease, it will be much harder for the virus to spread. This protects the whole community, including those who cannot be vaccinated, like newborns or those with allergies to the vaccines. The best way to achieve herd immunity is through vaccinations.
- Letting the virus “run its course” may offer immunity to some, but it also means a lot more people will get very sick or die. If you do get the virus, it’s impossible to know how mild, moderate, or severe your symptoms may be. It’s also impossible to know what kind of long-term effects you may have as a result. Plus, getting COVID-19 means quarantining away from everyone for at least 10 days, if not longer. That means not being able to go to work or see your friends and family.
- The vaccines are safe and effective. Millions of Americans have been safely vaccinated. You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccines. Some people have no side effects, while others have mild ones. These may include a sore arm, mild fever, or body aches. Severe side effects (like significant allergic reactions) remain very rare and are treatable.
If you’re still unsure about getting vaccinated, perhaps you could discuss your concerns with someone you trust, like a community leader, faith leader, or your doctor. It may also be helpful to talk to someone who has been vaccinated about their experience.
Vaccines only work if people get them. Getting the COVID-19 vaccine will protect you from getting sick. It will also protect your loved ones and your community.
Key things to keep in mind as you think about getting vaccinated
- The vaccine is free for everyone. You do not need health insurance to get it.
- Everyone can get the vaccine. Your immigration status does not matter.
- Find out if it’s your turn to get the vaccine at My Turn. If you are eligible, you can schedule your appointment there. If you are not eligible yet, you can sign up to be notified when you are. As of April 15th, everyone 16 or older will be eligible to receive the vaccine.
- You will need internet access or a cell phone to use the My Turn website. If you don’t have those, call 1-833-422-4255 to schedule your appointment.
- If you need help getting to a vaccine site, check what resources are available to you.
- Do you have language concerns? Interpreters will be available to assist at vaccination sites.
After you’ve been fully vaccinated, you may have more freedom. See the CDC’s guidance to find out what will change and what will stay the same. But keep in mind that even after you are vaccinated, it is important to continue to protect yourself and others. That means you should still wear a mask and practice social distancing when in public. That will help keep everyone safe as we wait for more Californians to get vaccinated.
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