Just a few weeks ago the FDA authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, a much needed sign of light at the end of the tunnel. However some seniors have their concerns. How can we know it’s safe so soon? What are the major side effects? Are they long term or permanent? These are all valid questions that can be answered. 

How Was the Vaccine Developed So Quickly?

Many people are wondering how we can trust a vaccine that was made in a year, record time for vaccine development.  There a few circumstances that make the COVID-19 different. For example there has already been research done on other coronavirus strains, this was crucial in developing the COVID-19 vaccine. This was also a team effort, scientist and researchers from across the globe all worked together. Medical experts agree the vaccines are safe and effective, the COVID-19 one is no different. The only people who are not approved to take the vaccine are those under the age of 18. 

What are the Side Effects? 

The side effects include arm soreness, fatigue and headache. These may sound familiar, this is because these are typically the side effects that come along with any other vaccine, such as the flu shot. These have proven to be mild and if you do experience them it won’t be until after the second dose of the vaccine. You should not get the vaccine if you’ve had an allergic reaction to any of the ingredients in the past, if you’re unsure about this talk to your doctor. 

What About Those With Pre-existing Conditions? 

As of now older adults with health problems have not experienced any other side effects and there is no evidence to suggest that they will.  Please remember to let the person administering the vaccine if you or your loved one have a fever, a bleeding condition or any allergies. This is something you should do when receiving any vaccine, not just the COVID-19 one. 

Elderly people are one of the most high risk groups along with immunocompromised people, which many seniors are. This vaccine is safe and approximately 95% effective, for reference the flu vaccine is only approximately 70% effective.  The next step is to speak with your doctor about when and where you or your loved one can get vaccinated.