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The next step in fight against COVID-19: Getting vaccinated



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In the coming months, thousands in our region will be given the opportunity to be vaccinated for COVID-19. Health care workers are getting the vaccine first, but others will get their turn in time.

Many are hesitant, however. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation Poll conducted in late 2020, 27% of the public said they probably or definitely would not get a COVID-19 vaccine even if it were available for free and deemed safe by scientists.  

Among those who don’t want to be vaccinated, the poll found concerns about side effects, safety and the fact that the vaccine is new.  

Was development of the COVID-19 vaccines unprecedented? Yes. Here’s how: 

Corporations, governments, universities and nonprofits around the world collaborated like never before. The two vaccines approved in the U.S. and 64 in development, according to the New York Times, show the results of this push. 

Funding for the vaccine was also different. In most instances, pharmaceutical companies must take on immense financial risks to bring a vaccine to market. For COVID-19, governments assumed financial risks, removing this barrier.

Typically, investigators must work for years to recruit the more than 20,000 participants needed for a phase 3 clinical trial. For COVID-19, people gladly volunteered, and with the coronavirus so prevalent in our communities, the level of exposure needed to test the efficacy of the vaccine was not hard to attain. 

Was the science used to vet the vaccines’ safety and efficacy sloppy? Absolutely not. Data about development have been carefully reviewed by scientists at the Food and Drug Administration and by independent experts. 

More than 2,600 Americans died of complications from COVID-19 each day in December. By getting vaccinated we can begin to reduce that number for good.

When your turn comes, I hope you decide to take advantage of this critical tool in the public health response to the pandemic.


 

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