As of Jan. 4, over 4.5 million people have been vaccinated in the U.S. with either the Moderna or Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (source: When millions of people have been vaccinated, the risks, or lack thereof, become apparent. Serious adverse events have been rare, manageable and reversible, showing these vaccines are safe. While some hesitation about deciding whether to take a novel vaccine is understandable, the risk of being hospitalized with COVID, or spreading COVID to friends and family members, is far greater than any safety risks associated with taking these vaccines. Let us not forget that over 300,000 Americans have died from COVID so far. The number of deaths related to either the Moderna or Pfizer/BioNTech COVID vaccines is still zero.

The prioritization of the vaccine distribution is directed at saving lives and preventing hospitalizations. If you are offered the vaccine right now, that means you are at the highest risk of being hospitalized or transmitting the disease. By refusing the vaccine, you are showing that you don’t care about your community. That not having a sore arm or a mild fever for a day is more important than your neighbor being hospitalized or worse, dying. Be a good neighbor and take the vaccine when offered it. The health of our community and the return to normalcy depend on it.

Luke Fostvedt

San Diego

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