By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– Vaccination eligibility continues to expand: anyone age 16 and older is now able to schedule a shot. The County is now receiving a steady supply of the vaccines, reducing the shortages that have complicated efforts over the past three months.
The biggest challenge now may be reassuring those reluctant or skeptical about getting the vaccine.
“Despite overwhelming evidence that the approved vaccines are both safe and effective, there are some in our population who continue to express fears,” said the County’s Interim Public Health Director Andrew Goldfrach. “We want to do all we can do to answer any questions about the vaccines to help individuals overcome their reluctance and schedule a vaccination appointment as soon as they can.”
The County has made specific outreach efforts to underserved communities, including a collaborative effort with many of the County’s African-American churches and a town hall and upcoming vaccination event with the Mexican Consulate.
“Our Black and Latino residents have been especially vulnerable to COVID-19 because they are more likely to have front-line, essential jobs that cannot be performed from home,” Goldfrach said. “Many of these individuals also tend to be overrepresented in severe COVID-19 cases and death, so getting them vaccinated is a top priority.”
Goldfrach said that vaccine skeptics are not limited to minority communities, but rather can be found in almost every neighborhood in the county. He listed five main reasons why every eligible resident should get a vaccination shot as soon as possible.
A COVID-19 vaccination will prevent you from getting sick
All three of the vaccines currently available in the United States have demonstrated a remarkable ability to prevent serious COVID-19 symptoms. They were carefully evaluated in clinical trials and were only approved after repeatedly showing their efficacy in preventing illness. Even in rare cases where an individual does get sick in spite of being vaccinated, the drug prevents the illness from becoming serious.
Though the COVID-19 vaccines were fast-tracked, the approval process remained stringent
The companies that created the COVID-19 vaccines were careful not to cut corners when testing the drugs for safety and efficacy. Moreover, before issuing Emergency Use Authorization for the vaccines, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) meticulously evaluated the potential benefits and the potential risks of the vaccines and confirmed they are both safe and effective.
Vaccine side effects are temporary and tend to produce minimal discomfort
The vast majority of vaccine recipients experience very little discomfort from the vaccines, usually limited to a sore arm, a mild fever or body aches. Such symptoms are temporary, typically lasting only a day or two, and merely indicate that the body’s immune system is learning to recognize and fight the coronavirus. Also, since none of the approved vaccines actually contain live coronavirus, it is not possible to get COVID-19 from a vaccination.
Getting vaccinated for COVID-19 helps others in your community — including those most at risk of hospitalization and death
Getting vaccinated not only protects you from COVID-19; it also protects the people around you, especially those at heightened risk for severe illness from the disease. And while wearing masks and social distancing help reduce your chance of spreading the virus to others, such measures will not suffice in ending this pandemic.
More vaccinations for COVID-19 mean a chance to return to normal
After more than a year of coronavirus pandemic closures, cancellations, and postponements, the overwhelming majority of County residents are eager to begin returning to work, school, sporting events, family celebrations, restaurants, movie theaters, and various social activities. Every person who gets a vaccination contributes to our returning to normal life sooner rather than later.
“We are employing every tool we have to stop the pandemic, and our most powerful weapons are the vaccines,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman. “But it is essential for us to move forward as quickly as possible. If people wait too long to get vaccinated, they will enable the coronavirus— including new variants — to continue spreading.
“COVID-19 can be very dangerous; it has already killed more than 4,000 people in San Bernardino County alone,” said Hagman. “So the sooner you get vaccinated, the sooner you can protect yourself and others from this terrible disease.”