The guiding light for every Augusta Health team member is the promise put forth in our mission statement: “To promote the health and well-being of our community through access to excellent care.” As we begin 2021 with our nation surpassing 20 million cases of COVID-19 and over 346,000 deaths, hope has arrived in the form of multiple vaccines being distributed in a staged approach that is forecasted to reach the general public by spring. In keeping with our mission, we firmly believe COVID-19 vaccines are the key to promoting our community’s health in a dangerous time.
Augusta Health is in full support of both the nation’s vaccination plan and Virginia’s micro plan for vaccination. While we understand there may be concerns regarding the success and reliability of a COVID-19 vaccine, every vaccine approved by the FDA requires adherence to the most rigorous standards and indisputable data attesting to effectiveness and safety. Because of this, we have the utmost confidence in the science and soundness of the COVID-19 vaccines we have received.
As a partner within our community, we believe what keeps our cities, towns, and neighborhoods strong is a patchwork of diverse people uniting as one. Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is a matter of individual choice, and we remain steadfast in our assurance to provide compassionate and expert care for everyone regardless of their personal decisions.
As our community’s healthcare provider, however, we state unequivocally that widespread vaccination is the clearest and most direct path to ending the pandemic. We are committed to closely working with every level of government to make the vaccination effort a success, and will continue to follow unbiased FDA data regarding the safety and efficacy of the vaccines currently available and of those in development.
The surplus of both true and false information being disseminated by various outlets can make the choice to receive the vaccine difficult. We understand and empathize with those concerns. Yet these past weeks have proven that COVID-19 vaccines can be administered safely and rapidly. The current COVID-19 vaccines do cause expected symptoms of an immune response very much like a flu shot, such as a sore arm, fatigue, body aches, and occasional fever. Instances of severe adverse reactions are exceedingly rare, and we will continue to report and participate in the vaccine side-effect monitoring that is occurring through the CDC.
These verifiable facts only further demonstrate our vital role in providing the community with accurate and — above all — easily understandable information regarding the vaccine’s benefits. We will continue to work tirelessly under the direction of the Virginia Department of Health and in collaboration with the Central Shenandoah Health District to ensure everyone who desires a COVID-19 vaccine will have access to one.
For more information, please visit Augusta Health’s coronavirus FAQ page at https://www.augustahealth.com/coronavirus/covid-19-vaccine-questions-and-answers