It is human nature to fear the unknown. But often times, fear of the unknown is unfounded and not substantiated by the facts of the situation. Anxiety over the COVID-19 vaccine is spreading like the illness itself and it is important to educate yourself about the reality of both the virus and the vaccine that is being administered to stop the spread.
Vaccination Anxiety is Real
Despite feeling as though we have been suffering from pandemic fatigue forever, the COVID-19 coronavirus is still a relatively new virus. How the virus came to be, how it has spread globally and how we can vaccinate against such a new illness are valid questions. But you need to be careful that you don’t allow fear to answer those questions. Negative feelings can create mental blocks that can greatly affect the way you live your life. In the case of the coronavirus, these fears can lead to a dangerous ignorance.
The best way to combat fear of the unknown is to familiarize yourself with what is making you feel afraid and anxious. In the case of the coronavirus, it is important to arm yourself with the facts, from reputable sources, and make an informed decision on how you can best protect yourself and those you love. Scientific and medical experts agree that when it comes to COVID-19, getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself against the virus.
Anxiety Stems From Seemingly Rushed COVID-19 Vaccine
When you ask people why they are apprehensive about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, they will often respond with fears over how the vaccine was fast-tracked. It is important to recognize that the COVID-19 vaccine was not rushed through development or its clinical trials. The approval for the vaccines currently being administered was expedited through beaurocratic barriers, otherwise known as “red tape”.
Leading infectious disease experts will tell you that the research into MRNA mechanisms (messenger RNA that teaches the cells how to trigger an immune response) has been going on for decades now, thanks to cancer research and the 2003 SARS outbreak. The tools to develop an inoculation against COVID-19 were already in place. It was the dire need for immediate implementation that helped to cut through the red tape and bring these vaccines to clinical trial and development
Thanks to the global crisis of the pandemic, many countries around the world focused time, energy and finances toward the shared goal of the COVID-19 vaccine. Indifference and commercial constraints were put aside. Necessity was the mother of this invention.
Which COVID-19 Vaccine is Best?
There are currently three vaccines approved for emergency use in the United States. Based on data provided by the manufacturer, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been shown to be 95% effective in an ongoing large-scale clinical trial. Based on data provided by the manufacturer, the Moderna vaccine has shown to be 94.1% effective in an ongoing, large-scale clinical trial. On February 27, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for the third vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19. The Janssen COVID-19 vaccine (by Johnson and Johnson) has been shown to be 67% effective in an ongoing clinical trial.
So which vaccine is the best choice? Experts agree that the best vaccine for you is the earliest one for which you are eligible. Getting your shot as soon as possible is the best defense against the virus.
COVID-19 Vaccine is Proven Safe and Effective
The COVID-19 vaccines have all met rigorous standards put in place by the FDA. The FDA will only approve a vaccine if the benefits outweigh the risks. The clinical trials of the COVID-19 vaccine had to show it was safe and effective before the vaccine could be authorized and approved for general use. All COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in the United States have proven highly effective in preventing the virus and are safe for use in individuals 18 years of age and older. Side effects from the vaccines have been minor, similar to those reported from the flu vaccine, and are rare. The CDC website states that millions of Americans have now received the COVID-19 vaccine under the most intense safety monitoring in U.S. history. The organization recommends you get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you are eligible. Getting the vaccine not only protects you but those you love as well.
In order to stop this pandemic, all available tools must be used by everyone. Getting the COVID-19 vaccine, in combination with following other protocols (i.e. mask-wearing, social distancing and consistent handwashing) offers the best protection against the coronavirus.
Over 145 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine were administered in the United States from mid-December 2020 to the end of March 2021. At the current pace of vaccinations, it is projected that the majority of Americans will be vaccinated against COVID-19 by the summer of 2021, that is, if fears and anxiety can be overcome first.