Why you should plan to get the COVID-19 vaccine
A common misconception about getting the COVID-19 vaccine is that it is really only necessary for those in the high-risk category. The truth is that the COVID-19 vaccine is valuable to the entire population, even those without pre-existing conditions. Everyone who can should get the COVID-19 vaccine when they are eligible to help lower and eventually eliminate the spread of the virus.
Of course, if you are an adult at risk of severe complications from COVID-19, it is even more important that you receive your COVID-19 vaccination once it is available and you are eligible based on the guidelines developed by the Washington state Department of Health (DOH) that is divided into phases and tiers.
COVID-19 symptoms can vary and affect everyone in different ways. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people at higher risk for severe illness and hospitalization due to COVID-19 include people 65 years old and older, as well as people wtih certain chronic medical conditions, such as cancer or compromised immune systems.
However, there is no way to predict with certainty who will have mild illness and who will get very sick.
The COVID-19 vaccine helps you develop immunity to the virus and helps to keep you from getting infected by it and — if you do catch the virus — helps to keep you from becoming as sick as you might get without it.
The COVID-19 vaccine also helps prevent you from spreading the virus. Even if you are not at a higher risk, being vaccinated will help you protect those around you who are.
Wearing masks and social distancing greatly help to minimize spread and reduce the risk of exposure, but they don’t do anything to produce immunity and they are not 100 percent effective in protecting you. A lot of people need to develop immunity to COVID-19 to completely stop the spread of the virus. This is sometimes referred to as “herd immunity” or mass immunity. You become immune to viruses either by getting sick and recovering from the virus or through a vaccine.
COVID-19 can have serious, life-threatening complications, and there is no way to know how it will affect you. It is much too dangerous to simply plan on eventually getting sick with COVID-19 and recovering, especially if you are in the high-risk population. The safest way to develop immunity to COVID-19 is by getting vaccinated.
Of course, even after you’ve gotten vaccinated, you should keep following the steps that we know work to slow the spread of COVID-19 — focus on hand hygiene, wear a mask and stay at least six feet away from anyone who does not live in your immediate household at all times. It will take quite a bit of time before most of the population is vaccinated and we’ve reached mass immunity.
In the meantime, getting the COVID-19 vaccine as soon once you’re eligible will protect you and those around you from contracting the disease. Coupled with physical distancing and mask safety measures, we will get closer to the mass immunity we need to return to normal life.
We understand many people are eager to get their COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible and are frustrated at the delays in getting an appointment. MultiCare remains committed to providing this important vaccine for our patients and communities as quickly and safely as possible. Please visit our vaccine page for the latest information.
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