COVID-19 Vaccine: Safety and Effectiveness

With frontline workers receiving their COVID-19 vaccinations and at-risk groups due for their initial vaccinations in the coming days, you may be wondering if this vaccine is safe. Advances in science and medicine have led to the first major breakthrough at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 cases. So far, only two vaccines have been approved for use in the United States, and they are from the manufacturers Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech, with more vaccines still undergoing trials.

Testing

All vaccines go through a series of stages while being developed that help to establish a reliable and effective vaccine. Following standards set by the Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization, these vaccines underwent rigorous testing and clinical trials to show their effectiveness and safety. Once a vaccine has passed all clinical trials and safety measures, it is reviewed by the FDA for Emergency Use Authorization before it can be made available in the United States.

Monitoring of the vaccine continues even after it’s been approved for use with Safety Monitoring Systems from the Center for Disease Control. These monitoring systems range from simple web surveys of vaccine recipients to more complex National Healthcare Safety Network tracking systems to ensure the safety of all vaccines.

Although the COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech were established, tested, and approved in record time, they were still put through rigorous trials and scrutiny to ensure your safety. These standards of security were held true even with the urgency to develop a vaccine for COVID-19.

Safety

Both vaccines approved for emergency use from Moderna and Pfizer have not reported serious safety concerns during their trials. Anyone with a severe allergy, such as anaphylaxis, to any of the vaccine ingredients, should not receive the vaccine according to the CDC. If you use epinephrine such as the EpiPen, the most common brand name auto-injectable device, to treat allergic reactions, talk to your doctor to find out if the vaccine is right for you.

All other individuals should receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Side effects of both vaccines such as fever or soreness at the site of injection have been reported, but these are common side effects for many types of vaccines besides the current COVID-19 vaccines on the market, and in most cases, is normal (always contact your doctor if you have questions or concerns post-vaccination). The CDC will continue to monitor the vaccines and issue warnings if necessary, but at this point, both vaccines have passed their trials and are labeled as safe for all age groups and ethnicities.

Effectiveness

The Moderna vaccine has an efficacy rate of 94% while the Pfizer vaccine has a rate of 95%. This means that they were at least 94% effective at preventing symptomatic cases of COVID-19 in recipients. Vaccinations in the community can help prevent transmission of the virus and lead us closer to herd immunity. It’s important to do your part in slowing the spread of COVID-19 and protecting yourself by getting an approved COVID-19 vaccine.

While the vaccine is currently being administered to frontline workers and high-risk groups, it’s imperative to keep taking steps to slow the coronavirus by wearing a mask, keeping a six-foot distance from individuals, and following federal and state safety guidelines. If you believe you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, visit our testing options to find which test is right for your situation. COVID-19 testing is available at participating locations only, so find your closest location and schedule your test.

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