To the Editor,
The doctors of the Rural and Remote of Division of Family Practice encourage everyone to get their COVID-19 vaccination as soon as it’s available to you. As doctors, we understand how the vaccines work, we understand the risks and benefits and we understand what they are designed to achieve — prevent illness, reduce hospitalization and prolonged intensive care stays, decrease the number of deaths and eventually allow a return to normal social functioning in our communities.
With the number of variants of concern growing each day — that is, mutations of the virus that have shown to be more easily transmittable — it’s even more important that we all get vaccinated.
Every COVID-19 vaccine approved in Canada has followed the same extensive testing as all other vaccines. No steps were skipped. Faster funding and worldwide collaboration have meant the vaccines were able to be developed much more quickly.
As well, the COVID-19 vaccines approved in Canada, regardless of the number of doses, have been studied extensively and have shown to be safe and provide excellent protection against the COVID-19 virus, preventing up to 95 per cent of infections and serious illness. The more people who are vaccinated, the harder it is for COVID-19 to spread.
Millions of people across the world have already received their vaccine with very few side-effects. As with almost any vaccine, people can experience some mild common reactions, which generally last one to two days. These include soreness, redness and swelling where the vaccine was given, tiredness, headache, fever, chills, muscle or joint soreness and nausea.
These reactions are not an allergic reaction, which is rare, but signs that your body’s immune system is responding — in a good way — to the vaccine. If you have concerns about any symptoms you develop after receiving the vaccine speak with your health care provider, public health nurse or call 811 for advice.
Not protecting yourself with a COVID-19 vaccine is a far, far greater risk to your health than actually taking the vaccine itself. We rural family doctors from all corners of the province who care deeply about our communities and patients have no hesitation recommending COVID-19 vaccinations for you and your families — in fact, we strongly encourage it.
Rural Remote Division of Family Practice