What you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine

The pandemic has been raging on for almost an entire year, but thankfully, there is hope in sight. In December, the FDA authorized both the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use in the United States. This past week, results from Johnson & Johnson's one-dose vaccine indicated that it was 85% effective in preventing severe cases of COVID-19. Johnson & Johnson plans on applying for emergency use sometime this month. With two officially approved COVID-19 vaccines and another candidate on the cusp of approval, states have been ramping up their vaccination programs to vaccinate as many people as possible and as quickly as possible to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.

Are you thinking about getting the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to you? Dr. Will Kirby, celebrity dermatologist and Chief Medical Officer of LaserAway, weighs in with his professional medical opinion. According to Dr. Kirby, there are really only three scenarios to consider with the pandemic:

Scenario one: You never get COVID-19

In a perfect world, this is what you'd want. But, unfortunately, this scenario is unlikely. Because COVID-19 is rapidly spreading across the United States, the chances that you'll encounter COVID-19 at some point keep on going up. Unless you've made a pledge to quarantine long-term and you happen to have a tremendous amount of good luck on your side, you'll probably be exposed to COVID-19 at some point.

Scenario two: You get COVID-19

Most people who get COVID-19 have a mild case. But many people have a moderate case that requires hospitalization, and some even die from it. The issue with this scenario is that if you get COVID-19, the illness's progression can be unpredictable. Even younger individuals can experience prolonged health issues from COVID-19 that last for months. Plus, when you're infected with COVID-19, it's easy to continue spreading it within your community, which isn't fair to others.

Scenario three: You get a COVID-19 vaccine

This is the best-case scenario. With getting the COVID-19 vaccine, there is a predictable outcome. After a series of two doses spaced three-to-four weeks apart, you're protected from COVID-19 by around 95 percent. Side effects are also minimal, such as a sore arm and malaise, and tend only to last a couple of days. Johnson & Johnson's one-dose vaccine, if the FDA authorizes it for emergency use, will help protect people against developing severe cases of COVID-19. Its side effects are also comparable to those from the two-dose vaccines.

Bottom line: Get vaccinated

Getting the COVID-19 vaccine not only prevents you from getting seriously ill from COVID-19, but it also helps protect your friends, family, and community. To learn more about the two COVID-19 vaccines currently available, visit the CDC's website. You can also read more about the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine here.

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health | Coronavirus