Michigan Association of Health Plans

Opinion: With a year of data, it’s clear the COVID-19 vaccine is safe

This article originally appeared in the Detroit Free Press. Read more here

I’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19 now for one full year. I recently obtained my booster shot. There is a lot of misinformation out there about the side effects, and consequences of getting vaccinated. As the Executive Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer of Beaumont Health, let me set the record straight.

Myth: You will become magnetic or microchipped if you get vaccinated.

Fact: I was one of the very Michigan residents to receive the first authorized COVID-19 vaccine last December 2020. For a full year now, I’ve navigated my life, and there is absolutely no truth to the idea that these vaccines contain any form of tracking devices.

Myth: The vaccines don’t work. Look at how many cases there are today.

Fact: Vaccines are not meant to completely prevent transmission. Vaccines reduce your risk of getting ill if you come in contact with a virus, and in the event that you do become ill, the hope is that you have a very mild case, rather than a debilitating long infection or death. If you look at our current COVID patients, the vast majority of those — 76% — are unvaccinated. Of those cases, the majority of those who are hospitalized with a severe illness are also unvaccinated — 87% of COVID ICU patients and 88% of COVID ventilator patients are unvaccinated.

Myth: The vaccines cause a virus to mutate leading to new variants.

Fact: Vaccines do not cause variants. In fact, the truth is almost completely opposite. Not vaccinating allows a virus to spread in the unvaccinated population. Viruses naturally undergo an ongoing mutation process. The more opportunities a virus has to spread, the more opportunities it has to mutate or change. The higher we can get our vaccination rate, the more coverage will exist in our communities — preventing spread and ultimately preventing mutation. Omicron is the latest result of this spread and mutation and will not be our last.

For every myth that exists about these vaccines, there are mountains of data to the contrary. It seems almost impossible to ask residents to cut through the clutter on their own. So as a health care professional with 38 years of clinical patient care experience, please believe me when I tell you this: The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and it’s effective. It is keeping people out of the hospital, preventing serious illness, and reducing spread between vaccinated residents. And as someone who is fully vaccinated — along with more than 6 million Michiganders and 198 million Americans — I can confidently tell you that it’s safe.

It is exhausting and discouraging to watch people fight for their lives against a disease that is now largely preventable. Our resources as health care professionals are finite and maxed out. Our hospitals are overwhelmed, and our workforce is exhausted and burned out — so much so, that we have requested the support of the military to help in our hospitals. Please, go get your COVID vaccine as soon as possible. Your health and the lives of others depend on it.

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