Why I got the COVID-19 vaccine: The short answer is that I want to protect myself, my family, my patients and my community. I also want to play a small part in helping move our country back towards operating in ways that we are used to.

On Tuesday, Dec. 22, I received the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at Watauga Medical Center. My only side effect was some muscle soreness at the site of the injection that lasted about 24 hours.

After carefully reading about the risks and benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine, it was clear to me that getting the vaccine was the right thing to do. The vaccine is remarkably effective at preventing COVID-19 (around 95 percent). While the vaccine does have potential side effects that people think of with vaccines (muscle soreness, fatigue, etc.), these are all signs that the vaccine is actually working. The vaccine was developed quickly due to major scientific advances and strong government investment. Additionally, the significant spread of COVID-19 made it easier to see if the vaccine actually worked. But, the COVID-19 vaccines went through every step of the FDA approval process to look at safety and effectiveness; no steps in that process were skipped. In addition, all the data was reviewed by an independent group of scientists and experts with no political connections. Now that the FDA says it is safe and effective and the CDC has approved its use in health care workers, I am excited to get my COVID-19 vaccine.

Now that I have had my first dose of vaccine, I will need another one in 28 days. Even after I get my second dose, I will continue to follow the 3Ws (wash, wait, wear) with particular attention to wearing my mask. I will continue to do this until the pandemic decreases and public health authorities recommend not having to wear a mask outside my home.

I can’t wait for that day!

For more information from the NC Department of Health and Human Services about COVID-19 vaccine, read this information sheet: https://files.nc.gov/covid/documents/COVID-19-Vaccine-Update.pdf.

W. Scott St. Clair, MD, Blue Ridge Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine

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