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10 reasons to get the COVID-19 vaccine, according to a doctor

·4-min read
Photo credit: Patcharanan Worrapatchareeroj - Getty Images
Photo credit: Patcharanan Worrapatchareeroj - Getty Images

We are in the middle of an unprecedented vaccination campaign to help protect the world against the COVID-19 viral pandemic, and the UK is helping lead the way here.

If you have not yet had a jab or you are wondering if you should have one, Dr Roger Henderson shares 10 reasons why getting the coronavirus vaccine is a good idea:

1. Having the vaccine does not give you COVID-19

Just like having the flu jab does not give you flu, the COVID-19 vaccine is exactly the same. No COVID-19 vaccine contains the complete virus and so they are both non-infectious and unable to give you Covid. Even in people with poor immune systems, the vaccine is safe.

2. It’s not all about you

Although it is crucially important to protect yourself against COVID-19 infection by having the jab, it is just as important that others are protected from you if you were to become infected. Many people are extremely vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19 - such as the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions – and so by reducing the risk of transmitting infection to them you are not only reducing the impact to you and them, but to society overall.

3. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe

The vaccines have been developed at a remarkably quick speed, mainly due to the usual delays on them being lifted by governments all over the world in order for them to become available. These are typically factors such as commercial interests and lack of trial participants but in the case of the COVID-19 vaccines there has been no shortage of central funding, trial volunteers and (unfortunately) cases of infection to see how effective they are. Current COVID-19 vaccines have been tested in more patients than most previously approved vaccines, were developed using decades-old science that has been shown to be safe, and have been through every required stage of clinical trials.

4. The COVID-19 vaccine does not interfere with DNA

The vaccine does not interfere with the body’s own DNA. Because of this, the vaccine cannot alter or interfere with our DNA as some vaccine sceptics have claimed.

Photo credit: David  Espejo - Getty Images
Photo credit: David Espejo - Getty Images

5. COVID-19 vaccination effects are typically mild

Most people have no side effects from the vaccine, or if they do occur are usually mild and short-lived, just as other vaccines (such as the flu jab) typically cause. Some reported side effects are actually due to the body’s immune system responding healthily to the jab and so do not indicate any problem but the immune response that is needed to provide protection against the virus.

6. The COVID-19 vaccine is free

Getting protected by the NHS against COVID-19 without paying a penny for it? What’s not to like?

7. The COVID-19 vaccine works

Although no vaccine can ever be 100 per cent effective, the level of protection against infection that the commonly used COVID-19 vaccines are providing is remarkable. The first dose should give you good protection from 3 or 4 weeks after you've had it, and you need two doses for stronger and longer-lasting protection.

Current data shows the Pfizer vaccine to have 95 percent efficacy in preventing an infection in people with no prior infections, the Moderna vaccine being 94 percent effective at preventing a symptomatic infection in people who have not previously contracted a coronavirus infection, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine having 72 per cent overall efficacy and 86 per cent efficacy against severe illness, and the AstraZeneca vaccine being 76 per cent effective at reducing the risk of symptomatic disease after both doses, and 100 percent effective against severe disease. (The company has also claimed an 86 per cent effectiveness rate of preventing a coronavirus infection in people over age 65 years.)

8. The COVID-19 vaccine is for everyone

The COVID-19 vaccines do not contain egg or animal products, and are suitable for people of all faiths.

9. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe for pregnant women

You can have a COVID-19 vaccine if you're pregnant or think you might be, if you're breastfeeding, or if you're trying for a baby. The vaccine cannot give you or your baby COVID-19.

10. There are enough vaccines to protect everyone

The COVID-19 vaccines currently approved for use in the UK are the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, the Moderna vaccine and the Janssen vaccine.

If you have any concerns about having a COVID-19 jab, discuss these with your doctor who will be happy to answer your questions and hopefully be able to reassure you.

Last updated: 23-06-2021

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