After less than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccines began rolling out to start bringing immunity to the virus. With a large amount of information being distributed about the virus and vaccines, it can be overwhelming for those who are trying to learn about the vaccine. 

Background on Available COVID-19 Vaccines

Currently, there are three vaccines available, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna. Pfizer and Moderna are two-dose vaccines that both have the same mechanism of action in that they attach to messenger RNA, or mRNA. The virus itself is not in the vaccine, making it impossible to get COVID-19 from the vaccine. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a one-dose vaccine that uses an adenovirus, a type of virus that causes the common cold, which carries a gene from the coronavirus into human cells. It then produces the coronavirus spike protein, but not the coronavirus itself. This spike protein primes the immune system to fight off an infection by the COVID-19 virus. 

Safety of Vaccines

When creating, authorizing, and manufacturing a vaccine, safety is the top priority, and the COVID-19 vaccine is no exception. All safety protocols were followed throughout the entire process of rolling out the vaccines. While the vaccine was produced quickly, proper safety protocols and strict FDA authorization processes were followed. Now that the vaccines have been implemented, safety data continues to be gathered, and there has been no evidence of safety concerns.

Importance of Receiving the COVID-19 Vaccine

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought severe illness and death to our citizens and has also been devastating the economy and the mental health of our society. We will not be able to lessen these effects and return to some sort of normalcy until it is safe. To reach this safety threshold, we need herd immunity. The threshold has been put at 80%, which means 80% of society needs to receive a vaccination for us to begin our path back to normalcy. 

Myths About the COVID-19 Vaccine

While many myths are being spread about the COVID-19, is a resource to learn about the most updated COVID-19 information and guidelines as well as FAQs that address any misinformation. There is significant distrust in health care by the Black community due to historical events in the medical field. Events such as that of Henrietta Lacks, a Black woman whose cancer cells were used in medical research without her consent, have brought worries of mistreatment and deception. Those in communities of color should know that the vaccines were found to be safe and effective by researchers and key board members, several of whom were minorities, that helped develop the vaccine.

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