Common Questions Nurses Need to Answer About the COVID-19 Vaccine
Vaccination is the means to an end for the COVID-19 pandemic and, thankfully, there are now three vaccines available. Unfortunately, rapid development and general misunderstanding of these viruses has presented a new problem. People are skeptical about vaccination and uncertain as to whether they should wait to get inoculated. It’s led to a wave of questions nurses and other medical professionals need to answer.
While the validity and necessity of vaccinations is evident to anyone in the medical field, it’s up to nurses to communicate their importance to the general public, dispelling notions of mistrust or misunderstanding.
Vaccine misinformation is rampant
One of the biggest risks facing recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is widespread misinformation regarding the virus and its vaccine. Rumors and myths have sprouted seemingly overnight — many of them harmful to the medical community’s goals of protecting people from the virus. This misinformation not only has the potential to confuse, it also is creating fear surrounding vaccination.
A few common pieces of misinformation have circulated across the country and have incited fear in the general public:
- The vaccine was developed too fast to be safe.
- The vaccine is being rushed to market for political purposes.
- The vaccine will alter people’s DNA.
- The vaccine can actually make you sick with COVID-19.
- Vaccination isn’t necessary for people who aren’t at risk.
To help the country — and the world — recover from the pandemic, it’s crucial that nurses do their part to dispel these incorrect notions. By sharing accurate data and correcting misinformation, healthcare professionals can help build confidence and encourage people to get vaccinated.
Answers to the most common COVID-19 vaccine questions
Many people don’t understand how mRNA vaccines work within the body, so nurses can start reducing misinformation by explaining the vaccination process to patients. There are still many questions people are bound to have about inoculation, however. Here are just a few common questions and their answers:
- How are we sure the vaccine is safe and that it works?
- The vaccines approved for use in the U.S. have undergone numerous rounds of clinical studies and were subject to rigorous standards before approval to ensure their safety. Each clinical trial comprised thousands of individuals and produced extremely positive results.
- What side effects does the vaccine cause?
- The most common side effects people have experienced after either dose of the vaccine include injection site soreness, fatigue, fever, headache, and chills. These side effects are normal and usually occur within 48 hours of vaccination.
- Is the vaccine safe for immunocompromised people?
- Immunocompromised individuals are at greater risk of COVID-19 and may choose to be vaccinated. However, safety data for people with autoimmune conditions or compromised immune systems is limited at this time. It’s best to discuss vaccination with your doctor to determine your risk level.
- If I had COVID-19, do I need the vaccine?
- People diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past should still get vaccinated. Research has shown that reinfection is possible with this virus, and natural immunity varies from person to person. Vaccination is the best way to avoid getting the disease again.
Getting ahead of questions and misconceptions around the vaccine will help ensure people feel confident in their inoculation decision. As the vaccine gradually becomes available to the general public, it’s important that nurses prepare to address common questions to help encourage public safety.