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Vaccination Misinformation: Making an informed decision on receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

Since the start of COVID-19’s reign of terror in the U.S. there has been controversy regarding the best course of action to address the illness and eradicate it from the country. The response of some was to protest mask mandates and stay at home orders while others stocked food and toilet paper in preparation for plenty of time indoors.

As the dangers of the virus became more apparent, early testing and development began for a vaccine. Once again opposing sides emerged: some rejecting the idea of using such a novel medication, and others who celebrated, searching for the first appointment they could find. The U.S. has now reached a stage in vaccine distribution where appointments can be made for all persons 16 and older, not only those suffering from chronic illnesses or in essential job fields. With newfound accessibility comes the question if one really should utilize this immunization or not.

What seems to be most concerning for many of those questioning the effectiveness of the vaccine is how quickly it was created when other vaccines and medications can traditionally take years to manufacture. It is true that this vaccine was developed quickly, but this is not at all a testament product’s reliability. When an event like a pandemic occurs, searching for a solution becomes essential. Paperwork and funding for research was fast-tracked for the COVID-19 vaccine due to the emergent nature of the situation, greatly speeding up the entire process; however, rigorous testing and clinical trials of the vaccine were not neglected in the slightest.

Side effects of the vaccine are still being closely monitored as vaccine distribution continues. As one may have seen in the news, six recent recipients of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine developed blood clots as a side effect, killing one woman. This news was frightening, and the FDA immediately halted the use of this brand.  Nevertheless, it is important to note that these six cases emerged out of a pool of 6.8 million recipients of the same vaccine, making this side effect apparent less than 0.00009% of the time. The FDA was able to acknowledge this fact, review the side effects once more, and weigh the risk against the benefits for this vaccine. The Johnson & Johnson brand has since been reapproved for distribution.

There is a lot of misinformation surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine, such as a lack of effective indepth research conducted in the development stage, or common and dire side effects of the shot, or even that the vaccine itself could contain a microchip. In a time like this it is very important to your own research to make an informed decision. The Mayo Clinic is a great resource with a straightforward fact sheet about the vaccine. Here you can find plenty of information about each kind of vaccine, including how each works once inside the body. The CDC also houses plenty of information about vaccine clinical trials and safety.

After conducting my own research of the new vaccines I have decided to be vaccinated. I trust the recommendations of many doctors and researchers that this vaccine is safe and effective and will protect me and those around me from the continued spread of COVID-19.

Visit the PA and CDC official websites to start your own research and/or make an appointment.

Sources: cdc.gov, pa.gov

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