Key facts to consider if you're hesitant about getting the COVID-19 vaccine
Widespread COVID-19 vaccination is critically important to stop the pandemic, so we need everyone’s help to keep everyone around us safe. Here are some key facts to consider:
1. Getting vaccinated can protect you and those around you from getting sick.
We know how devastating COVID-19 is with more than 32 million cases confirmed in the U.S. and nearly 600,000 reported deaths nationwide. That’s why it’s important to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Waiting too long allows the virus to continue spreading in the community, with new variants emerging. The COVID-19 vaccines will protect you from getting seriously ill or being hospitalized. It’ll also help those around you, like older people and those living with chronic medical conditions – populations who are more likely to experience severe cases of COVID-19. The more people who get vaccinated, the sooner we can feel safe being among one another and go back to normal activities.
2. People of color are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 complications.
Long-standing systemic health and social inequities have put Black, African American, Latinx/Hispanic, Native American and other communities at increased risk of dying from COVID-19. These communities are overrepresented in front-line, essential jobs, and are vulnerable to risk factors that can make COVID-19 worse such as heart disease and diabetes. We encourage those who identify as Black, Indigenous and people of color to speak to a trusted community leader or a doctor to share concerns, and to make a vaccination plan.
3. Though the COVID-19 vaccine development was fast, it did not skip any safety steps.
The speed of the vaccines’ development was due to cutting the red tape and bureaucracy that often slows down medical innovations and not due to cutting corners or bypassing safety precautions. All COVID-19 vaccines were tested in clinical trials involving tens of thousands of people to make sure they meet safety standards and protect adults of different ages, races, and ethnicities. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are 95% effective in preventing severe disease.
4. Diversity in COVID-19 vaccine testing helped assess safety and effectiveness.
Participants in vaccine clinical trials were diverse. The clinical trials for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines included Black (about 10% of participants) and Hispanic (about 20% of participants) people, older age groups (about 25%), and people with conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and heart and respiratory conditions. The U.S. study participants for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine were 15% Latinx/Hispanic; 13% Black/African American; 6% Asian and 1% Native American. New and future clinical trials will also include pregnant women and children under 12.
5. Side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine are temporary.
The vaccines do not contain live coronavirus, and you cannot and will not get COVID-19 from getting vaccinated. There may be side effects, but they should go away within a few days. Side effects are signs that the vaccine is working to build immunity. Possible side effects include a sore arm, headache, fever, or body aches. It’s a less severe trade-off than experiencing the long-term side effects of getting COVID-19 (from permanently reduced lung capacity to loss of taste).
6. The CDC and the FDA have lifted a temporary pause on the J&J COVID-19 vaccine.
The pause was taken out of an abundance of caution to investigate a rare type of blood clot that formed in 15 people out of the 8 million who received the vaccine. After an independent committee reviewed the risks and benefits, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have determined that the vaccine is safe and effective for preventing COVID-19. They also concluded that the risk of having serious complications due to COVID-19 is more likely than the risk of a rare blood clot from the vaccine. In March, Swedish piloted the use of the J&J vaccine in partnership with the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) to help make it easier for high-risk patients to get vaccinated before being discharged from the hospital. We paused this program during the J&J temporary pause but have restarted it based on the recommendations of the DOH and CDC. You can learn about the J&J COVID-19 vaccine by reading this fact sheet from the FDA.
Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine at:
Make an appointment:
To locate a vaccination site near you, visit the Washington State Department of Health Vaccine Locator website or call the Department of Health at 1-800-525-0127 and press #.