Preview of informational videos answering top vaccine safety questions

Sharing the Science: How to Answer Your Patients’ Vaccine Safety Questions

The internet is flooded with information—and misinformation—regarding COVID-19 vaccines. Patients bombarded with contradicting headlines may come to a healthcare professional with questions, and it’s critical for nurses and others in a position of care to provide answers based in science. Here are some of the top vaccine safety questions healthcare professionals may hear, along with informational videos that give a quick summary of the science behind the answers.

When your patient says, “Vaccines are not safe,” share the science.

Like all vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccines were tested in large clinical trials with layers of safety checks. The trials assessed protection against COVID-19 among groups of varying ages, races, ethnicities, and medical conditions. After receiving the vaccine, subjects were closely monitored for side effects, even rare ones.

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When your patient says, “The vaccine will give me COVID,” share the science.

None of the vaccines contain the live virus. They do supply the immune system with a blueprint for a harmless protein unique to the COVID-19 virus. The immune system then produces antibodies that are able to recognize an invading COVID-19 virus and fight it off before it becomes a serious health risk.

Some people will develop a fever or mild flu-like symptoms after receiving the vaccine. These side effects are not COVID-19, but only the immune system kicking in to fight the virus.

It can take a few weeks for full immunity to develop after vaccination. However, vaccinated people can become sick if they were exposed to the virus just before or just after receiving the vaccine, but based on early evidence, vaccination nevertheless reduces the chances of severe illness.

When your patient says, “Natural immunity is safer than vaccines,” share the science.

Before 2019, humankind had never encountered the specific virus that causes COVID-19. Much is still being learned about the virus, the illness it causes, and the long-term effects. Being so new, it’s not yet known how long immunity from COVID-19 lasts, either for people who recover from infection or for those who are vaccinated.

But here’s what is clear: People infected with the virus can spread the infection to others. Even with the protection of natural immunity, there’s a heightened risk that unvaccinated people infected with the virus could become severely ill, develop long-term health issues, or die. The vaccine provides safe protection against the most serious effects of COVID-19.

As a healthcare professional, you have the power to positively influence your patients’ health and well-being by sharing the science. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines and how they work at