The COVID-19 Vaccine: Is It Safe?

The COVID-19 Vaccine: Is It Safe?

Jackson Murray, Reporter

For most people, the Covid-19 vaccine is seen as the endpoint of the pandemic once it’s approved and sent out for public use. However, some people are more skeptical about the whole subject. In a poll from NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist taken in August of this year, people were asked if they were comfortable with getting the vaccine. Only 65 percent of the respondents said they would be willing to get vaccinated if the vaccine was approved by the FDA and free. 30 percent of respondents said they wouldn’t get the vaccine no matter the circumstances. The final 5 percent of respondents were undecided. What are people worried about if they were to take the vaccine? 

Pros for the current vaccines

Moderna is the company at the head of one of the most effective vaccines and is listed as one of the top 5 choices for a Covid-19 vaccine. Moderna had recruited 30,000 volunteers to take part in testing the vaccine. Some of the volunteers had actually received a placebo as a control group. Out of 30,000 volunteers, only 95 people had contracted visible symptoms, with 5 vaccinated volunteers contracting the virus and 90 control group volunteers contracting the virus. Out of the 95 cases, 11 were severe, none of which were from vaccinated people. All of the vaccinated volunteers that contracted the virus had no symptoms worse than the flu.

The CDC has stated that the FDA will not allow a vaccine to go public until it is approved as safe for everyone taking it. This is only overshadowed by a EUA (Emergency Use Authorization). A EUA would only be used for patients that would not survive without the vaccine. The CDC also says that cost will not be a problem for getting vaccinated in America. The vaccines are planned to be cheap to produce. The payment for a vaccine will be from U.S. tax money. This means that if you buy something and need to pay a few dollars for tax, that tax money will have covered you for a dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Even after someone is injected with a vaccine for Covid-19, the CDC will pay close attention to recipients for any side effects not seen in clinical studies. If a new side effect shows, the CDC will determine if something different needs to be done to ensure the safety of the vaccine.

Cons for the current vaccines

One of the biggest concerns surrounding the vaccine is the possibility of side effects, which have been shown in tests of the vaccine. The most promising vaccine from Moderna has been recorded to have 95% effectiveness, but also cause a few unwanted reactions after injection. Luke Hutchison was the one who brought these symptoms to light. They included a red spot similar to a rash appearing at the injection site, muscle and bone aches, and a 102°F fever. After half a day, all of these reactions had subsided. Luke described them as unbearable while they were in effect. Separate side effects were also recorded, such as fatigue in nearly 10% of all recipients, and headache in nearly 5% of all recipients. 

What’s the takeaway?

Experts have addressed these symptoms, as they put it, with “full transparency.” An expert in vaccination controversy at Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Bernice Hausman says that transparency is key to people’s trust. He emphasized that instead of trying to cover up or minimize the risk of fever, people administering the vaccine should instead tell people there’s a chance for intense side effects. Hausman believes this would make more people trust that they are being told the truth. Ian Haydon was one of the first-ever to be tested for the vaccine and he contracted the side effects. When interviewed he said “For me, this was a rough day. But if you compare it to what COVID can do, I think it really pales in comparison.”

If you’re worried about getting some of the side effects by taking the vaccine; don’t be. The odds are, you’ll get the injection and that will be it. If by chance you do contract some of the side effects, you have nothing to worry about. None of the side effects recorded have been detrimental to a person’s health and none have lasted longer than a day. Some scientists with Moderna have even gone so far as to say that these reactions are a good sign of your immune system kicking into action. In the words of Ian Haydon, any possible side effects of the vaccine are “a small price to pay.”

Picture Credit: BioNTech