submitted by Dr. Melinda Ratini, Family Medicine, Lower Bucks Hospital, www.lowerbuckshosp.com
If there’s just one thing you do today for your health, it should be to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Infectious disease experts say that at least 70% to 85% of Americans need to have immunity before we can stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.
Yet, as of this writing, only about 43% of the people in the United States have been fully immunized – even though the vaccine is widely available. So, what is the holdup? Here are some good reasons to go for it!
It is safe! The vaccine underwent rigorous testing before being released and now more than 300 million doses have now been given out using the most intense safety monitoring in US history. There is even a smartphone-based app called V-Safe that is available to everyone who receives the vaccine to track any side effects or safety issues. The vaccine can’t cause COVID-19 because there is no live virus in it. And any side effects are usually mild–like headache, fever, tiredness, or a sore arm. They tend to go away in a day or so and would be much, much worse if you actually had COVID-19.
It is effective! The vaccine helps protect you from getting COVID-19 along with its potentially serious complications. No vaccine has ever been 100% effective, but even if you get COVID-19 after being vaccinated, there is very little chance that you would get sick enough to be in a hospital or to die from it.
It is available! The COVID-19 vaccines are widely available. Lower Bucks Hospital has been at the forefront of vaccine distribution in Bucks County and even has walk-in availability. Call the hospital for details and the most recent vaccine schedules. More information is also available at vaccines.gov. You can also text your zip code to 438829 or call 1-800-232-0233 to find out where you can get your jab.
It is free! The COVID-19 vaccine is available free of charge to everyone regardless of your health insurance or immigration status. You may be asked to provide any insurance information if you have it but this is only so the provider can bill the insurance company for a small administration fee. You are not responsible for this fee.
It has added benefits! Much of the region is opening up to people who are fully vaccinated. This means you may be able to shed that mask in many indoor settings, visit your favorite restaurants, and hear your favorite live music.