Updated: May 3, 2021
This past year has been a wild ride. Bars have closed, many restaurants were no longer dine-in, festivals and concerts have been canceled left and right, and vacations were basically non-existent. The rise of the COVID-19 virus really took the world by storm. Now, there’s finally a vaccine to help get us back to “normal” but many folks are weary about it because of how quickly it was created. Hopefully, I can shed some light on the topic to help readers make an educated decision on taking the vaccine.
COVID-19 is caused by a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2, commonly referred to as SARS. SARS is a contagious and potentially fatal respiratory illness that was first seen in 2002. SARS was found to be spread through tiny air droplets that are produced when people talk, cough, or sneeze. Symptoms of SARS include, but are not limited to, a dry cough, fever, muscle aches, and difficulty breathing. If you are thinking this sounds a lot like COVID-19, remember that COVID-19 is just another variant of SARS so they are very similar. And before you begin to worry about contracting SARS from anyone, that specific variant of the coronavirus has not been transmitted since 2004, so no worries!
In 2002, scientists began to study the coronavirus. This connection between SARS and COVID-19 is how the vaccine was created so swiftly. The years of studying necessary to combat a virus was already being done, so when a virus similar to SARS appeared back in 2019, much of the leg work was complete. No red tape was cut. No shortcuts were taken. We were just more prepared than we thought.
“Won’t there be side effects?!” Yes, there are reported side effects from taking the vaccine, but these are normal signs your body is learning to fight the virus. When you take the vaccine, there is a chance you could experience pain, swelling, or redness in the arm you received the injection. You may also experience chills, a fever, nausea, muscle pain, tiredness, or headaches. Side effects tend to be more severe after the second dose of the vaccine.
Again, these are signs your body is developing a way to defend itself from COVID-19. Plus, not everyone who gets the vaccine experiences these side effects. Many people who get the vaccine feel perfectly fine afterwards. It is also important to note that because this is an educational moment for your body, you should still take all precautions between the first and second dose of the vaccine. It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to become completely effective, so it is entirely possible to get COVID-19 within the first two weeks of getting the first dose.
Try not to live in fear of these side effects. Many vaccines we have had in our lives carry a chance of experiencing a side effect or adverse reaction. This does not and should not prevent you from protecting yourself or your loved ones. Keep in mind the more people who are fully vaccinated, the quicker we can get back to the beach, restaurants, and all of those social gatherings we miss so much.
By: Better Me by Dr. B
Editor: Ariel Thompson
Medical Reviewer: Dr. Tiffany Bell D.O.