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To Immunize or not to Immunize, that is the Question

This question, taken as a play on words from Shakespeare’s’ Hamlet soliloquy “To Be or Not to Be”, is the question many of us are asking ourselves. It is no less profound than the Bard’s famous words.

How do we make the decision about whether to take any of the three Covid-19 vaccinations currently available in the U.S.? When we ask friends, colleagues, and employees, ”Why not get vaccinated?. What information do you need to decide to take the vaccine?”

Most people reply that they do not know what information they need. They just want to wait. Wait for what, we wonder? Wait to see if there are any long-term side-effects? The CDC reports that because COVID-19 vaccines are new, it will take more time and more people getting vaccinated to learn about very rare or possible long-term side effects. The good news is, at least 8 weeks’ worth of safety data were gathered in the clinical trials for all the authorized vaccines, and it is unusual for vaccine side effects to appear more than 8 weeks after vaccination.

Wait to see if the vaccine actually works against the spread of COVID-19? What do we know about the Vaccine Efficacy? COVID-19 vaccines are effective at keeping you from getting COVID-19. Studies show that COVID-19 vaccines are effective at keeping you from getting COVID-19. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine will also help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19.

Wait to see if taking the Covid Vaccine will affect my ability to get pregnant. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist states that although pregnant women were not included in COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials, observational data from vaccinated pregnant individuals is being collected by CDC and manufacturers

  • Based on limited self-reported information, no specific safety signals have been observed in pregnant people enrolled in v-safe; however longitudinal follow-up is needed

  • Early data from CDC’s v-safe pregnancy registry demonstrate that the side effects and adverse events observed among pregnant individuals in v-safe did not indicate any safety concerns

  • Data from Developmental and Reproductive Toxicity (DART) animal-model studies for the Pfizer-BioNtech, Moderna, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccines have not demonstrated any safety concerns in pregnancy

  • None of the COVID-19 vaccines available for use under EUA cause infertility

  • On-going safety monitoring planned through many government and non-government programs

Why do we get vaccinated? We have asked our employees to share with us why they decided to take the vaccine, and we heard was; I want to be vaccinated for my health (so I can stop wearing a mask), for family, for my patients, for my grandparents, and for my community. At our community vaccination events we hear that: I want to travel, I want to take my honeymoon, I want to see my grandchildren, I want to gather for celebrations and festivals again, I want to stop wearing a mask, or I want to go to a concert or live theater.

To immunize or not to immunize, that is the question.

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