Public health experts agree that vaccinating enough people against COVID-19 is key to helping reduce the virus’s transmission and ending the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 7.26 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccines have been administered to people across 184 countries, according to data collected by Bloomberg. No unexpected patterns of reactions or other safety concerns have been identified during early vaccine safety monitoring, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In Colorado, more than 3.5 million people are fully vaccinated, according to state health department data, or more than 72% of the people who are eligible for the shot in the state.

As of Monday, more than 1,394 people were hospitalized with confirmed COVID-19 in Colorado. Of those hospitalized with the virus across the state, 79% are unvaccinated, according to the state health department.

If you’ve been on the fence about getting your COVID-19 vaccine, here is some information from public health experts to help inform your decision.

Q: I heard there are side effects from the vaccine. What’s that about?

Some people do have side effects from their COVID-19, vaccine including pain in the arm in which they received the shot, tiredness, headaches, muscle pain, chills, fever or nausea, according to the CDC. However, those side effects are normal signs that the body is building protection against the virus and, typically, go away within a couple days, the CDC said.

Some people have no side effects.

“There are a lot of people, especially young people, who think they might be invincible to this virus and they really under-think the risk from getting the virus and overthink the side-effect risk,” said Lisa Miller, professor of epidemiology and associate dean for public health practice at the Colorado School of Public Health.

None of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. — Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson — contain the live virus that causes COVID-19, meaning the vaccine can’t make you sick with COVID-19.

Millions of people have received COVID-19 vaccines, and no long-term side effects have been detected, according to the CDC.

Q: If the vaccine might make me sick, why not just take my chances with COVID-19?

The severity of a case of COVID-19 is unpredictable, the CDC said. And while it has been more severe — and deadly — for older people, younger Coloradans remain at risk for serious complications from the virus.

Out of the more than 43,500 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Colorado so far, almost 6% of them have been between the ages of 20 to 29; almost 9% have been between the ages 30 to 39; almost 12% have been between 40 to 49; and more than 17% have been between 50 and 59.

Even if you’re not concerned about getting COVID-19, yourself, the respiratory virus is highly contagious and can be spread among family members, friends and loved ones.

“You’re putting others at risk by not getting vaccinated,” Miller said.

In Colorado, more than 8,700 people have died due to COVID-19.

And some people continue to have long-term health issues after contracting COVID-19, the CDC said. Some of these problems include difficulty breathing, ongoing fatigue, brain fog, changes in smell or taste, cough, sleep problems and more.

Q: I’ve already had COVID-19. Why should I still get the vaccine?

There is some protection from the virus for people who have already contracted COVID-19, Miller said, but a lot remains unknown.

“We don’t know how good that protection is if you’ve had a mild case,” Miller said. “It probably varies from person to person depending on your immune system and how severe the case was. We have good data to say that getting vaccinated will improve your immunity tremendously. If you’ve had COVID, it’s not a very dependable way to protect yourself and others, and we know you can have this amazing protection if you’ve had it and get the vaccine — you can have a superpower.”

One study showed that unvaccinated people who already had COVID-19 are more than twice as likely as fully vaccinated people to get COVID-19 a second time, the CDC said.

Q: How accessible are the vaccines? I’m busy, uninsured, low-income or otherwise worried about my ability to receive one. 

The COVID-19 vaccine is free. No identification, proof of residency or insurance is required to get the shot.

Colorado hosts multiple vaccine clinics across the state every day at varying times. To look up the sites and times, visit covid19.colorado.gov/vaccine/where-you-can-get-vaccinated. You can also get the shot at a pharmacy, your doctor’s office, a pop-up clinic or a mobile vaccine bus.

You are entitled to paid time off from your job to get vaccinated and recover from any side effects.

If you need a ride to your vaccine appointment, Mile High United Way’s Ride United program is providing access to free rides, up to 25 miles each way, to vaccination sites across Colorado. Dial 211 or visit 211colorado.org for more information.

 

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Public health experts agree that vaccinating enough people against COVID-19 is key to helping reduce the virus’s transmission and ending the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 7.26 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccines have been administered to people across 184 countries, according to data collected by Bloomberg. No unexpected patterns of reactions or other safety concerns have been identified during early vaccine safety monitoring, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In Colorado, more than 3.5 million people are fully vaccinated, according to state health department data, or more than 72% of the people who are eligible for the shot in the state.

As of Monday, more than 1,394 people were hospitalized with confirmed COVID-19 in Colorado. Of those hospitalized with the virus across the state, 79% are unvaccinated, according to the state health department.

If you’ve been on the fence about getting your COVID-19 vaccine, here is some information from public health experts to help inform your decision.

Q: I heard there are side effects from the vaccine. What’s that about?

Some people do have side effects from their COVID-19, vaccine including pain in the arm in which they received the shot, tiredness, headaches, muscle pain, chills, fever or nausea, according to the CDC. However, those side effects are normal signs that the body is building protection against the virus and, typically, go away within a couple days, the CDC said.

Some people have no side effects.

“There are a lot of people, especially young people, who think they might be invincible to this virus and they really under-think the risk from getting the virus and overthink the side-effect risk,” said Lisa Miller, professor of epidemiology and associate dean for public health practice at the Colorado School of Public Health.

None of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. — Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson — contain the live virus that causes COVID-19, meaning the vaccine can’t make you sick with COVID-19.

Millions of people have received COVID-19 vaccines, and no long-term side effects have been detected, according to the CDC.

Q: If the vaccine might make me sick, why not just take my chances with COVID-19?

The severity of a case of COVID-19 is unpredictable, the CDC said. And while it has been more severe — and deadly — for older people, younger Coloradans remain at risk for serious complications from the virus.

Out of the more than 43,500 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Colorado so far, almost 6% of them have been between the ages of 20 to 29; almost 9% have been between the ages 30 to 39; almost 12% have been between 40 to 49; and more than 17% have been between 50 and 59.

Even if you’re not concerned about getting COVID-19, yourself, the respiratory virus is highly contagious and can be spread among family members, friends and loved ones.

“You’re putting others at risk by not getting vaccinated,” Miller said.

In Colorado, more than 8,700 people have died due to COVID-19.

And some people continue to have long-term health issues after contracting COVID-19, the CDC said. Some of these problems include difficulty breathing, ongoing fatigue, brain fog, changes in smell or taste, cough, sleep problems and more.

Q: I’ve already had COVID-19. Why should I still get the vaccine?

There is some protection from the virus for people who have already contracted COVID-19, Miller said, but a lot remains unknown.

“We don’t know how good that protection is if you’ve had a mild case,” Miller said. “It probably varies from person to person depending on your immune system and how severe the case was. We have good data to say that getting vaccinated will improve your immunity tremendously. If you’ve had COVID, it’s not a very dependable way to protect yourself and others, and we know you can have this amazing protection if you’ve had it and get the vaccine — you can have a superpower.”

One study showed that unvaccinated people who already had COVID-19 are more than twice as likely as fully vaccinated people to get COVID-19 a second time, the CDC said.

Q: How accessible are the vaccines? I’m busy, uninsured, low-income or otherwise worried about my ability to receive one. 

The COVID-19 vaccine is free. No identification, proof of residency or insurance is required to get the shot.

Colorado hosts multiple vaccine clinics across the state every day at varying times. To look up the sites and times, visit covid19.colorado.gov/vaccine/where-you-can-get-vaccinated. You can also get the shot at a pharmacy, your doctor’s office, a pop-up clinic or a mobile vaccine bus.

You are entitled to paid time off from your job to get vaccinated and recover from any side effects.

If you need a ride to your vaccine appointment, Mile High United Way’s Ride United program is providing access to free rides, up to 25 miles each way, to vaccination sites across Colorado. Dial 211 or visit 211colorado.org for more information.

 

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