DOES VACCINE HESITANCY ADD UP?

Key Points:

  • There has been 33.8 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States and over 600 thousand deaths.
  • More than 334 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the United States.
  • The most common side effects from the vaccines; pain, redness, swelling at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, nausea, fever.
  • Reports of adverse events to VAERS following vaccination, including deaths, do not necessarily mean that a vaccine caused a health problem.
  • Of the 334 million+ doses administered, the number of rare adverse events that have been reported include; Anaphylaxis – 2 to 5 people per million, Thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) – 38 reports, Guillain-Barré Syndrome – around 100 preliminary reports, myocarditis and pericarditis – 633 reports, Death – 6,079 reports (FDA requires healthcare providers to report any death after COVID-19 vaccination, even if it’s unclear whether the vaccine was the cause).
  • One study identified more than fifty long-term effects patients experienced after contacting COVID-19.

From the moment COVID-19 was first realized, it was filled with a sense of unknowns and uncertainty. Symptoms of common and familiar illnesses took on new meanings and the virus meant new ways our health could be impacted. Understandably, there were more questions than answers at times. Fortunately, advancements in medicine and the ability to rapidly gather and share data enabled a quick response.

COVID-19 vaccines became another feature in the continuously evolving landscape of overcoming the new virus.

Due to decades of previous work with mRNA and viral vector vaccines, trials were completed in record time. On December 14, 2020, the first COVID-19 vaccines were made available to health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities.

Vaccines are now readily available to anyone 12 years of age and older. In each, Matagorda and Wharton County, roughly 40% of the vaccine eligible population are fully vaccinated1.

What about the remaining 60%?

We know that a percentage of the population are not eligible to receive the vaccine for health reasons such as a high propensity to severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis).

Another portion of the population have received their first dose and are awaiting their second.

Many of the remaining portion of the eligible population are hesitant about receiving the vaccine. Some are waiting for full FDA approval as opposed to current emergency use authorization, others are uneasy about the “newness” of the vaccines and weigh the perceived risks, or perceived lack there of, associated with contracting COVID-19 vs. the potential side-effects from the vaccine.

It is important to note that more than 334 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the United States from December 14, 2020, through July 12, 2021

What are the side effects of the vaccines?

The most common side effects are normal reactions to vaccines as your body builds immunity and they may last up to a few days.

  • Pain, redness, swelling at the injection site
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Muscle Pain
  • Chills
  • Nausea
  • Fever

In some instances rare adverse events may occur. Reports of adverse events are reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Reports of adverse events to VAERS following vaccination, including deaths, do not necessarily mean that a vaccine caused a health problem. Rare adverse events that have been reported include3:

  • Anaphylaxis after COVID-19 vaccination – 2 to 5 people per million
  • Thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) – 38 confirmed reports of people who got the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine and later developed TTS
  • Currently Monitoring reports of Guillain-Barré Syndrome (J&J/Janssen vaccine) – there have been around 100 preliminary reports.
  • Myocarditis and pericarditis (Pfizer or Moderna) – confirmed 633 reports. CDC and its partners are investigating these reports to assess whether there is a relationship to COVID-19 vaccination.
  • 6,079 reports of death – FDA requires healthcare providers to report any death after COVID-19 vaccination to VAERS, even if it’s unclear whether the vaccine was the cause.

What are the effects on those that contracted COVID-19?

We have had 33.8 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States and over 600 thousand deaths. To better understand the effects of COVID-19, multiple studies are being performed. While many recover from the virus with no lasting effects, others experience medical complications that last weeks to months after initial recovery.

In one particular study, more than fifty long-term effects were identified while reviewing the cases of 47,910 patients. It was estimated that 80% of the patients that were infected developed one or more long-term effect4

People who experience mild or even no COVID-19 symptoms in the days or weeks after they are infected can have post-COVID conditions5.

NIH4

As the virus continues to spread and new variants immerge, those who remain unvaccinated have a greater risk of contracting the virus.

When we review the data, the number of vaccines administered is greater than the number of confirmed COVID cases. Yet, the number of long-term effects and death associated with contracting COVID-19 is far greater than the adverse events that may have been associated with the vaccine.

The COVID-19 vaccine is not 100% effective at preventing someone from contracting the virus, but it is highly effective at preventing sever illness, death and even the spread of COVID-19.

References:

  1. Texas Health and Human Services: COVID-19 Vaccination in Texas Dashboard . Lasted updated 7-16-2021
  2. CDC: Possible Side Effects After Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine. Updated June 24, 2021
  3. CDC: Selected Adverse Events Reported after COVID-19 Vaccination. Updated July 13, 2021
  4. NIH: More than 50 Long-term effects of COVID-19: a systematic review and meta-analysis. 2021 Jan 30
  5. CDC: Post-COVID Conditions. Updated July 12, 2021

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