Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Meshellia D. Hayward, FNP-BC
“Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine?” is a question I am asked frequently by the patients I serve at HopeHealth, especially by senior adults. Many are unsure about the vaccine out of fear. Fear because they do not know enough about the vaccine, misinformation about the effects of the vaccine, or mistrust of the medical community.
The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccines which have been shown to meet the rigorous safety criteria. Although the vaccine has been proven safe by the FDA and is 94-95 percent effective, many seniors have not yet received the vaccine despite older adults being at greater risk of requiring hospitalization or dying if diagnosed with COVID-19. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), eight out of 10 COVID-19 deaths reported in the U.S. have been in adults 65 years and older.
Everyone, especially seniors need to take precautions to protect themselves from getting COVID-19. These precautions include:
· Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine
· Wearing a mask (covering nose and mouth)
· Keep at least 6 feet distance between yourself and others
· Wash hands often (if soap and water is not available, use hand sanitizer)
· Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
· Cover cough and sneezes
· Clean and disinfect surfaces
Vaccination hesitancy is a real concern. As a health care provider, I realize it is important to listen to those I serve in the health care community. It is also important to help patients debunk the myths about the vaccine. The COVID-19 vaccine does not cause COVID-19 nor does the speed in which the vaccine was developed devalue its effectiveness. Reassuring seniors and answering concerns are key in dispelling myths regarding the vaccine.
I completed both doses of the vaccine. I made the decision to receive the vaccine for several reasons, including:
· Being a health care provider increases my risk for COVID-19 exposure
· The protection the vaccine offers against COVID-19
· Protecting my family
· Being a role model for my patients and others in the community
I hope the fact I received the vaccine will help decrease the hesitancy my patients and others may have. Please contact your health care provider with questions about COVID-19 or COVID-19 vaccines.
Meshellia Hayward is a board-certified nurse practitioner at HopeHealth in Greeleyville. She provides primary care to children and adults and emphasizes the importance of disease prevention, management of acute and chronic diseases, and patient education.