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A Brand New Vaccine? I Have a Few Questions.

April 12, 2021

I asked our faculty to answer some questions about the COVID-19 vaccine and got so many good answers that this article will be published in two parts. The second will be out next Monday.

Opinions, opinions. 

           There are a lot of different opinions out there about the COVID-19 vaccine. Some are racing to their local pharmacies, begging to receive the first dose of one of the three options. Others are a little more skeptical, questioning the efficacy of a vaccine that was developed so quickly. As I write this, over 167 million vaccines have been administered in the U.S. Here at the college of pharmacy, I am surrounded by professionals in the field of medicine. Many of them, including our students, have been hard at work administering the vaccine in question. 

           For this article, I asked several of our professors to answer a few questions about COVID-19 and the vaccines that have been developed to combat it. 

In your opinion, should those who are eligible receive the vaccine? 

           “In my opinion, unless their medical provider has told them they should not receive the vaccine, everyone who is eligible should receive the vaccine as soon as possible. I am telling my family the same information.” – Nate Daniels, Ph.D

           “Absolutely! This is the one thing they can do for themselves and others that truly will slow Covid-19 down. The more that get the shot the better the herd immunity.” – Kam Nola, Pharm.D

This vaccine was developed very quickly, is it still safe? 

           “Many people feel like the vaccine was approved too quickly and are worried about its safety.  While the vaccine was approved quickly, this does not mean that it is not safe. It was approved quickly because everyone realized the need for the vaccine, and it had an abnormally large amount of support and resources from many different places that allowed it to be in production quicker than most medications. Rarely is there a product that private institutions, the government and even individuals like Dolly Parton financially support to help the process happen as quickly as possible. All of the COVID-19 vaccines that are available actually had more people and more diverse patients involved in their studies than other vaccines that have been available for many years.” – Sarah Uroza, Pharm.D

           “This vaccine was developed in record time but is based on decades of science leading up to this point. There has also been a sustained, coordinated sharing of data and results between scientists from drug companies and universities to help drive these vaccines forward.” - Nate Daniels, Ph.D

What is herd immunity? Do I still need to get the vaccine if we achieve that? 

           “Herd immunity is when enough of a population is vaccinated that if one person gets infected, they have a low chance of spreading it to other individuals within that population. Yes, you should still get the vaccine. We do not know the exact numbers needed for herd immunity for the variants yet, and as we get a higher and higher percentage of people vaccinated the chance of transmission continues to go down.” –  Nate Daniels, Ph.D

Student Giving Vaccine

Our students have been hard at work giving and receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

What can I expect after receiving the vaccine?

           “Everyone responds differently to the vaccine. The most common reaction after the vaccine is a sore arm, redness, and swelling where you received the shot. Other side effects that may be experienced include tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea.  It would be helpful to ask the doctor if it is ok for you to take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) for any pain or discomfort you may experience. Also, you can apply a clean, cool compress to the arm. It is also wise to exercise or move your arm to work out the soreness. Drink plenty of fluids if you experience a fever.” – Kam Nola, Pharm.D

To be continued...

           Next week, I will be sharing a few more questions and responses from our faculty. Hopefully, this information will be helpful to those who may still be deciding about the vaccine. While everyone should speak to their medical provider if they have concerns, I believe these opinions are some of the more legitimate that are out there. I encourage everyone reading this to consult multiple sources so that you can be well-informed before making your decision.

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