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For yourself and your family. This is your shot at preventing COVID-19.

Eugenio Labadie, OBYGN, West Jefferson Medical Center
For yourself and your family. This is your shot at preventing COVID-19.

We're all at risk for complications related to COVID-19. However, if you are Hispanic-American, you may be particularly vulnerable to experiencing severe health problems related to the virus. That is why getting the vaccine is critical to protect you and your family from contracting COVID-19.

“Employment dynamics and work environments of many Hispanic-Americans put them in close proximity to others, increasing the likelihood of contracting viruses such as COVID-19,” said Eugenio C. Labadie, MD, FACOG, OB/GYN at West Jefferson Medical Center, LCMC Health. “This is particularly dangerous in terms of the pandemic because the Hispanic community also has a high rate of metabolic syndrome, or risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing conditions like diabetes, heart disease and stroke. We have seen, in the case of COVID-19, that people with these conditions are the people who most commonly experience life-threatening COVID-19 complications.”

A vaccine already? Is it safe?

Thanks to a dedication to finding solutions to manage COVID-19 and the evolution of modern medicine, multiple research teams have produced vaccines to dramatically reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19. However, the speed with which the vaccine was made available makes many individuals—including those in the Hispanic community—question whether or not the vaccine is safe.

If you are among the skeptics, rest-assured that the COVID-19 vaccine was required to meet the same Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards of quality that other vaccines have achieved. Specifically, the vaccine has gone through rigorous testing to make sure that it is:

● Composed of pure ingredients

● Germ-free

● Properly formulated

The COVID-19 vaccine is a messenger RNA, or mRNA, vaccine, which means that, unlike other vaccines, it does not involve injecting a weakened version of a virus into your body to cause an immune response. Instead, the mRNA vaccine instructs your body to create protein that can kick your immune system into gear so that it can fight the virus in question. In the case of COVID-19, the vaccine teaches your body to make a spike protein.

The research was very thorough in examining the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine. The main chunk of time that was cut out of a usually lengthy clinical trial process involved administrative tasks. Specifically, data analysis, funding, regulatory approvals and submission to the FDA were expedited in order to more rapidly respond to the pandemic.

What to expect post-vaccine

As your body builds up its defenses against the COVID-19 virus, you might experience side effects. Consider this when scheduling your vaccine. These side effects are typically mild and may include:

● Chills and fever

● Fatigue

● Headache

● Swelling and tenderness in the area where the shot was given

“I highly recommend getting the COVID-19 vaccine, no question,” Dr. Labadie said. “The benefits far outweigh the risks. But if you are breastfeeding or pregnant, talk with your obstetrician about how the vaccine would affect you and your baby.”

To learn more about COVID-19 vaccines, visit lcmchealth.org/coronavirus.