Still haven’t gotten your COVID vaccine yet? What are you waiting for? As a public health professional working in COVID response, I have gotten a lot of questions about COVID vaccines these past few months. I would like to
think I’ve helped some people make the right choice to get vaccinated, but truthfully, I think most people know the right thing to do. They just need a little extra help to do it with confidence.

After all, it is your decision, and you deserve the facts:

Danni Pinnick and her (fully vaccinated) family. Photo credit: Rafa at DORM Studio.

COVID vaccines are safe. The science behind the COVID vaccines has been in development since the early 2000s, and the vaccines were each tested on tens of thousands of people, before authorization. To date, health care
workers have administered over 270 million doses of COVID vaccine, in the U.S. Vaccines are the most heavily monitored and regulated thing we do, in medicine. Getting a vaccine is safer than taking Tylenol. (Sorry, Tylenol. I
still love you.)

COVID vaccines are effective. Recent studies performed by the CDC have shown that these vaccinations have reduced transmission by 90% in healthcare workers and have reduced hospitalization by 94% in the elderly.

COVID vaccines are necessary. This coronavirus is very contagious. Without immunity to it, your chances of getting it at some point over the next few months or years are very high. Your choice to skip the COVID vaccine today may be the choice to get COVID disease tomorrow.

COVID vaccine will protect you. Even people who are young and healthy are susceptible to death and disability from COVID. Even people who survive COVID often go on experiencing symptoms weeks or months after their infection resolves. I have seen this happen to vibrant, young and healthy people that I know. You simply do not know how COVID will affect you.

COVID vaccine will protect your loved ones – both old and young. We all know how dangerous COVID is to the elderly, but did you know that over 3,700 children in the U.S. have been hospitalized and treated for a rare but serious complication of COVID, called multisystem inflammatory syndrome? Due to advanced medical treatments, these children were spared the fate of the 350 children who have died from COVID.

COVID vaccination will help us restore our economy and keep it open. COVID vaccination will help us keep kids in school and activities.

In this last year, I have watched the disease of COVID rip families apart, and I have watched the COVID vaccine bring families back together.

I hope you make the right decision.

  • This op-ed was written by Danielle Pinnick, MPH, COVID Vaccine Coordinator at the North Dakota Department of Health and North Dakota United member.