The Importance of Getting the Covid-19 Vaccine

There are many questions about covid-19 and the vaccine. Our board member, Dr. Andy Quint wrote the following helpful facts about the virus and the vaccine:

By October 2020 COVID-19 had become the third leading cause of death in the US for persons aged 45 through 84 years and the second leading cause of death for those aged 85 years or older. Adults 45 years or older were more likely to die from COVID-19 during 2020 than from emphysema, car accidents, drug overdoses, suicide, or homicide. The reported number of COVID-19 deaths underestimates the number of actual deaths caused by the pandemic, possibly by as much as half.  While much remains to be learned, it appears that Covid-19 is much more deadly than the flu, perhaps as much as 30 times more lethal. Not only is the death rate from covid-19 higher than from influenza and other common viruses, we are now learning about long term health effects of covid-19, including damage to the heart and lungs, neurologic problems and chronic fatigue. Covid-19 is, indeed, a very dangerous infection.

The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines against covid-19 — the first  two approved in the U.S. — are among the best vaccines ever created, with effectiveness rates of about 95 percent after two doses. If anything, the 95 percent number understates their effectiveness, because it counts anyone who came down with a mild case of Covid-19 as a failure. But turning Covid into a typical flu — as the vaccines evidently did for most of the remaining 5 percent — is actually a success. Of the 32,000 people who received the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine in a research trial, only one person contracted a severe Covid case. These vaccines are not 100% effective at preventing covid 19 disease but they are essentially 100% effective at preventing death and serious sickness from covid-19. These vaccines can save your life and the lives of your loved ones.

The risk of serious side effects  from the vaccines is not zero, because almost nothing in the real world has zero risk. A tiny percentage of people may have allergic reactions.  The most common reactions to the vaccine are pain and/or swelling in the arm, fever, chills, tiredness and headache. These are usually mild to moderate and only last one to several days. These have occurred in 15-20% of vaccine recipients.  A few severe allergic reactions have occurred (hives, wheezing and difficulty breathing) but it’s still exceedingly rare to have a serious side effect. None of the COVID-19 vaccines contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19. 

Even if you get a side effect to the vaccine, that’s nothing compared to what could happen if you came down with covid-19. The covid-19 vaccines are safe and effective-I strongly encourage all of my patients to get vaccinated against covid-19 as soon as possible using whichever vaccine is available to you.

If you live in Missouri, you can sign up to get a vaccine and learn more about it here:

If you’re interested in more information check out the following links: