While the world is making great strides in getting coronavirus vaccines into the arms of people across the globe, there are still those who do not want to get a vaccine. But there are many reasons to reconsider:

The personal and public health reasons:

1.    Prevent your own illness, risk of serious complications, and even death.

2.    Help us get to herd immunity so that most of the population has immunity and there are few new infections. Getting to herd immunity by getting infected is not a successful strategy. That relies on you spreading the infection, which leads to risk of serious illness for yourself and others. Relying on others to get vaccinated to protect you is not sufficient at this time.

3.    Don’t contribute to the further spread of illness, which is inevitable unless you never see anyone (and that seems either highly unlikely or not sustainable long-term). When you are infected, you contribute to spreading the virus -- it’s that contagious.

The getting back to normal reasons:

4.     You won’t have to wear masks in many situations once you’re fully vaccinated! You can also take part in normal activities again without having to quarantine or have those uncomfortable nasal swab tests, because vaccination status will matter.

5.    Be able to hug your family and friends again and spend time together.

6.    An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure — vaccination is our ounce of prevention!

No more excuses:

7.    Serious side effects from any of the FDA-authorized vaccines is highly unlikely. You will be provided with good information when you go for your vaccination.

8.    Get information that is based on scientific facts. There is no evidence that the vaccines will cause infertility or some of the other unfounded ideas that can cause you to fear the vaccine. The fact is the vaccine material is gone from your body in a matter of two to three days. The vaccines available are extremely safe and side effects go away quickly. It is important to know that serious side effects should be and are reported to reliable government agencies so that important signals can be detected early. For example, administration of the Janssen vaccine was paused after a few cases of blood clot in individuals with low platelets was seen (out of seven million doses, this was a very rare event). The cases were evaluated and a change to the patient information sheet was made. All providers have been made aware of this risk and guidance is available to minimize risk to those receiving a vaccine. If you have questions about vaccine safety, rely on medical experts and your healthcare provider to help you make your own decision about getting a vaccine.

9.    No matter your political affiliation, the vaccine will work for you. Vaccines don’t belong to any political party.

10.    The global situation is still pretty bad. Most countries have a limited vaccine supply or no vaccine, allowing the coronavirus to continue to circulate. This means we will continue to have spread here in the United States. The virus is not going away unless we get vaccinated.

11.    You’ve waited to see if it’s safe. It is safe…the majority of adults in America have gotten at least one dose, proving that it is safe and effective. Take advantage of the availability of the vaccine.

We encourage everyone who is eligible to get the vaccine. Then you can live your life with more freedom once you are fully vaccinated. Learn more about the coronavirus vaccine and schedule an appointment on our website.

Karen Tashima, MD

Karen Tashima, MD

Dr. Karen Tashima is the director of clinical trials at the Immunology Center. She was the principal investigator at The Miriam Hospital for the development of the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Tashima served on the Rhode Island Governor's COVID-19 Vaccine Subcommittee in 2021.