Dr. Mai See Moua is a family physician who primarily sees patients at the Allina Health Woodbury Clinic.
She spoke with KARE11 about the COVID-19 vaccine.
More than 300,000 Minnesotans have received at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. This includes health care workers, long-term care residents and those 65 and older.
However, the decision to get vaccinated isn't easily made for everyone. Some Minnesotans aren't sure they'll be ready when their turn comes.
Dr. Moua addressed some of the top concerns during a question and answer session.
Q: Some consumers are concerned about global companies rushing to get the vaccines created, tested, approved and shipped so quickly. Is the vaccine safe?
- Yes. Scientific evidence shows that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and highly effective.
- Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were exhaustively researched and tested on tens of thousands of people of all different ages, ethnicities and health backgrounds before the FDA approved them for use.
- A lot of extra funding, manpower and other resources have gone into the vetting of the vaccines.
- In Minnesota alone, 300,000 people have received the vaccine. That’s a great start and good local evidence that side effects are minimal.
Q: What are the side effects?
- Mild side effects are a normal part of any vaccination.
- Side effects are a sign that your body is building protection against the virus.
- You may experience mild soreness, swelling and redness on the arm where you got the shot; joint or muscle pain; nausea; headache; fever or chills; fatigue; feeling unwell; and/or swollen lymph nodes.
- At Allina Health, we’ve seen that most people will be fine going about their regular activities.
- If your side effects get worse or don’t go away after a couple of days, contact your doctor.
Q: Can immunity to COVID-19 be achieved without vaccination?
- To become immune to COVID-19, you must either become infected with the coronavirus or get vaccinated.
- Even if you have had COVID-19, you may not be immune to getting it again.
- Getting a vaccine protects you from becoming ill or reduces the chances of severe symptoms of COVID-19 when you are exposed to it.
- Vaccines not only protect those who receive them, but they also protect the population as a whole.
- When enough people become immune to COVID-19 through vaccination, it becomes much less likely that the virus can spread from person to person.
- To reach a critical point of broad public immunity from COVID-19, it is estimated that up to 80%-90% of the population will need to be vaccinated.
Q: Where do I start with so much information out there?
- There are endless sources of information on COVID-19. Unfortunately, many of them are not credible and can create fear based on misinformation.
- The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is an excellent source for current, bias-free information.
- You can find CDC articles that answer questions, including articles that debunk vaccine myths.
- Another good source is the Minnesota Department of Health.
Q: Will my decision to vaccinate really change the direction of the pandemic?
- Yes! Every person vaccinated counts.
- The more people who get vaccinated — as soon as it’s available — the faster the vaccine will work to reduce illness and deaths from COVID-19 and end the pandemic.
- The point of the vaccine is to protect you and the people you love from getting COVID-19.
- We all want to be safe and to go back to doing the things we enjoyed before the pandemic.
- The way to get there is to vaccinate as many people as possible.
Q: After we are vaccinated, is it OK for those vaccinated to stop masking and social distancing?
- No, even after vaccination, it’s important to keep protecting yourself and others from spreading germs.
- Vaccines aren’t widely available yet, so it’s still crucial to keep wearing a mask in public places.
- At Allina Health, we still want you to wash your hands often and keep a safe distance between yourself and others outside of your household.
- Even though the vaccine is coming, we can’t let down our guard.
Here is an emergency use authorization fact sheet about the vaccines from the FDA.
You can also read more about the vaccine on Allina Health's website.