By Dr. Claudia Fegan, Chief Medical Officer, Cook County Health
COVID-19 is scary. All of sudden last year we were told there was a new virus. We had to stay home, wear masks, not see or touch each other – even our families. Everything changed, almost overnight. Our world was turned upside down. All we wanted was to get back to normal.
Now we have a chance to do that – return to normal. There is a vaccine, three in fact, that can help protect us against the virus. Experts expect COVID-19 to be around for a while, and the vaccine offers us all the best shot at returning to life as usual. As a doctor and a mother, I am urging everyone I know to get their vaccine.
The COVID-19 vaccines are remarkably effective, more effective than most of the vaccines we all get against childhood diseases like mumps and measles. It is important to know that you cannot get COVID-19 from any of the vaccines. Some people do have side effects that can last a few hours or a few days, but the side effects are not as bad as getting COVID-19 and dying and they are not as bad as getting COVID-19 and giving the virus to someone you love who then dies.
Soon, we expect the FDA and CDC to approve the Pfizer vaccine for everyone age 12 and older. When that happens, I hope parents will get their kids vaccinated too. While younger people are generally less likely to experience severe COVID-19 symptoms, serious illness in kids still does happen. In addition, even if they do not feel sick, they can spread the disease to others, putting vulnerable people at-risk.
Do not put off getting your shot. The vaccine has never been more readily available. You can walk-in to any one of Cook County Health’s vaccination sites Monday through Saturday to be vaccinated. It is easy and quick.
This Mother’s Day weekend, honor the special women in your life by getting vaccinated to protect yourself and your family against COVID-19. There is nothing your mother wants more than for you to be healthy. Do not miss your shot. Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourselves and your loved ones from the virus and to give us a chance to all be together again.