As part of the development of the COVID-19 vaccines, research proved that the vaccines approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use were both safe and effective.
“The early studies showed that the COVID-19 vaccines were effective in keeping people from getting COVID-19, and also keeping you from getting seriously ill if you did get COVID-19,” says Allison Baroco, MD, Infectious Disease specialist at Augusta Health. “We also knew from these studies that the vaccines are safe. They’ve undergone intensive safety monitoring and continue to be monitored for safety.”
According to Dr. Baroco and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the vaccines will not give you COVID-19.
“You might have some side effects after the vaccination, but those are normal signs that your immune system is working and building protection,” adds Dr. Baroco. Those side effects can include chills, fatigue, body aches or fever, and they should go away in a day or two. It does take about two weeks after the final vaccination to reach full immunity. That means it is possible that someone could get COVID-19 just before or after being vaccinated and then get sick because the vaccine did not have enough time to provide full protection.
At the end of March, the CDC released a new report based on ‘real world’ data on the effectiveness of the vaccine—and the findings show the vaccine is highly effective in real life, too. Vaccinations reduced infections by 90% in fully vaccinated people.
The study included almost 4000 healthcare workers and first responders in eight locations around the United States. They were observed from mid-December until mid-March. They were tested for COVID-19 regularly. The research show the both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine prevented illness and also preventive asymptomatic illness—being infected but never developing symptoms.
“The new research is similar to the results in the clinical trials, but this new information is important because it shows the vaccines are effective in healthcare providers who, through their work, encounter a large number of people who have COVID-19,” says Dr. Baroco.
“COVID-19 vaccination is one key element in ending the pandemic. Herd immunity will be an important element to get there. ” adds Dr. Baroco. “Two weeks after your final dose, when you are fully vaccinated, you can start to do some of the things you had to stop doing because of the pandemic restrictions, such as visiting family members. As the criteria for vaccination expands to the younger, healthier members of our community, we need them to get vaccinated, too. We have a lot to be hopeful for, and these safe and effective vaccines can make that hope a reality.”