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The COVID-19 Vaccine: Why Should I Get the Vaccines and the Boosters?

    Published:December 09, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apmr.2022.10.016

        Understanding health risks and social effects of COVID-19

        Since March 2020, the novel coronavirus virus (hereafter coronavirus) has resulted in more than 660 million cases and 6.6 million deaths globally. Not being vaccinated increases your risk for COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus.
        According to the National Institutes of Health, even if you recover from COVID-19 in the short term, COVID-19 can
        • damage vital organs (ie, lungs, heart, brain)
        • increase your risk for COVID-19 long-term symptoms (ie, brain fog, a symptom similar to early dementia).

          COVID-19 (coronavirus): Long-term effects. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER) Available at:https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/coronavirus-long-term-effects/art-20490351. Accessed December 23, 2022.

        • make you socially isolated and miss out on activities such as work, school, social activities. Participation in these activities is important for preserving mental health and overall well-being.
        • make you end up in the emergency department for care.
        • require a long hospital stay leading to high hospital and out-of-pocket medical bills.
        • be costly for you, your family, and your community.
        • Specific examples that directly relate to cost include
        • (1)public restrictions because of ongoing societal spread result in job loss
        • (2)limited resources for childcare, and
        • (3)increase need for community support to compensate for individual losses result in an overall societal cost.
        The new sub-variants are more infectious and can spread faster than older variants of the original coronavirus. You may not have symptoms of COVID-19, but you still can carry the virus and spread it to other people and animals.

        Zanwar, Preeti, One Health and Averting the Next Pandemic: Concept, Origin, Evolution, and Challenges. Available at SSRN:https://ssrn.com/abstract=3865704 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3865704. Accessed December 23, 2022.

        People with disabilities (PWD) may be at increased risk of contracting COVID-19 due to several reasons including limited mobility or inability to avoid coming into close contact with others who may be infected, need for close contact with personal attendants and caregivers, having trouble understanding information or practicing preventive measures, or inability to communicate symptoms of illness.
        People with disabilities. National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.

        Understanding COVID-19 Vaccine

        The misinformation about the vaccine on television and social media outlets can make you feel uncertain, scared, or vaccine hesitant.
        • A big reason for 40% of the population to remain unvaccinated is false information spread on the internet.
        • In 2021, a Kaiser Family Foundation report found about 80% of adults who say they will “definitely not” get the vaccine believe or are unsure about at least 1 prevailing COVID-19 vaccine myth.
        • Additionally, a majority of adults (54%) either believe some rampant misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccines or are unable to debunk it.
        • Fact checking (such as checking the source and credentials of the person posting) is a key strategy to verify the factual basis of the information.
        • Our vaccine guide is based on scientific evidence to help you make the right choice regarding staying up-to-date with vaccines and boosters.

        Common fears related to vaccine

        • There is no evidence any vaccines cause fertility problems in women or men.
        • However, getting COVID-19 can lead to male fertility problems, cause thyroid problems which can affect your menstrual cycle and fertility.
        • Pregnant people who get COVID-19 experience higher risk of preterm birth, low birth weight, and stillbirth.

        Interconnected benefits of being fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and staying up-to-date with boosters

        Health/social benefits

        Historical, social/economic benefits

        • 1.
          Vaccines have played a huge role to help eradicate other diseases such as smallpox from the world.
        • 2.
          You can help stop the virus from spreading to other vulnerable people.
        • 3.
          You can celebrate family occasions, partake in family holidays, public events with larger crowds, that is, sporting events and other fun activities safely. Know your community levels of COVID-19 before going to these activities. Some businesses and workplaces require vaccination proof or have mandates on staying up-to-date.
        • 4.
          Partaking in recreational and social activities are important for overall well-being and may protect against depression and social isolation.
        • 5.
          The sooner a greater number of people are vaccinated, the better chance we have of keeping the new number of virus cases low in your community and return to work, school, travel, and eat in restaurants safely in-person which in turn can help our economy return to pre-COVID-19 era.
        For continuous update and to avoid misinformation, please check the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) site at COVID-19 What's new and updated-19 What's new and updated. The CDC has updated guidance for fully vaccinated people based on new evidence.

        Where can I find a place to get my COVID-19 vaccine?

        Currently, the vaccine is FREE and available for everyone 6 months old and older. Contact your doctor, and your local health department to find out where to get vaccines. Check the following websites:
        • Learn how to find a COVID-19 vaccine near you as soon as you can.
        • Vaccines.gov
        • CVS.com
        • Walgreens.com

        What should I expect after getting vaccinated?

        • Getting a vaccine is fast. You may experience 1or a combination of side effects such as a sore arm, feeling tired, headache, mild fever/chills after vaccination. Usually, these symptoms last 1-2 days.
        • It generally takes 2 weeks after vaccination for the body to build protection against the coronavirus.
        • Continue to practice good public health measures after the vaccine shot such as mask-wearing, hand washing hygiene with soap and water, social and physical distancing when indoors, and make sure your indoor spaces have good ventilation.
        • The virus is always changing and generating new variants in different populations. Keep yourself protected from variants by getting the COVID-19 booster.
        • Learn what you can do when you have been fully vaccinated.

        Where can I find help after I get my vaccine?

        • For COVID-19 vaccine aftercare visit.
        • Use the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment tool at https://bc.thrive.health/covid19/en if you experience ANY symptoms of COVID-19.
        • Serious side effects (eg, blood clots or inflammation of the heart) after receiving the vaccine are rare. Seek urgent medical attention or call 9-1-1 if you develop any serious side effects or a severe allergic reaction (ie, hives, swelling of your face, tongue, or throat or difficulty breathing). Tell your doctor you have received a COVID-19 vaccine.

        Four simple ways to stay safe

        Authorship

        Preeti Pushpalata Zanwar, PhD, MPH, MS (email address: [email protected]); Comilla Sasson, MD, PhD; Patricia C. Heyn, PhD, FGSA, FACRM; Shanti M. Pinto, MD; Susan Magasi, PhD; Mark A. Hirsch, PhD, FACRM; Ahmed Negm, MD, MSc, PhD; and the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM) Aging Research & Geriatric Rehabilitation Covid-19 & Frailty Task Force.

        Disclaimers

        This information is not meant to replace the advice of a medical professional and should not be interpreted as a clinical practice guideline. Statements or opinions expressed in this document reflect the views of the contributors and do not reflect the official policy of ACRM, unless otherwise noted. Always consult your health care provider about your specific health condition. This Information/Education Page may be reproduced for noncommercial use for health care professionals and other service providers to share with their patients or clients. Any other reproduction is subject to approval by the publisher.

        References

        1. COVID-19 (coronavirus): Long-term effects. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER) Available at:https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/coronavirus-long-term-effects/art-20490351. Accessed December 23, 2022.

        2. Zanwar, Preeti, One Health and Averting the Next Pandemic: Concept, Origin, Evolution, and Challenges. Available at SSRN:https://ssrn.com/abstract=3865704 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3865704. Accessed December 23, 2022.

        3. People with disabilities. National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.
          Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2022 (Reviewed July 20 Accessed at) (Accessed December 23, 2022)
        4. COVID-19 Vaccines. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Available at:https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19/covid-19-vaccines. Accessed December 23, 2022.

        5. Understanding mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. Vaccines and immunization. National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), Division of Viral Diseases.
          Center for Disease Control, 2022 (Available at:) (Accessed December 23, 2022)
        6. Rates of COVID-19 Cases and Deaths by Vaccination Status. COVID Data Tracker.
          Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, 2022 (Available at:) (Accessed December 23, 2022)
        7. How do death rates from COVID-19 differ between people who are vaccinated and those who are not? Our world in data. Available at:https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/united-states-rates-of-covid-19-deaths-by-vaccination-status?country=∼All+ages. Accessed December 23, 2022.

        8. COVID-19 Vaccines for Children and Teens.
          Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2022 (Available at:) (Accessed December 23, 2022)
        9. Rates of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 hospitalizations by vaccination status. COVID Data Tracker.
          Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, 2022 (Available at) (Accessed December 23, 2022)
        10. COVID-19 Vaccines While Pregnant or Breastfeeding.
          Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2022 (Available at:) (Accessed December 23, 2022)
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          • et al.
          Durability of anti-spike antibodies in infants after maternal COVID-19 vaccination or natural infection.
          JAMA. 2022; 327: 1087-1089
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          • et al.
          Effectiveness of face mask or respirator use in indoor public settings for prevention of SARS-CoV-2 infection—California, February–December 2021.
          MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2022; 71: 212-216