Unprecedented collaborative efforts in vaccine development have culminated in multiple vaccines being tested in advanced clinical trials all in less than one year since global leaders understood we were in the midst of a global pandemic. One is now being given to health care workers, and another will soon follow.
As the first Covid-19 vaccines are being distributed in the United States and in other countries around the world, the main question now on many minds is, “Are these vaccines safe?”
The answer is yes.
Vaccines are one of the great modern triumphs of public health. They have helped add several decades to human life expectancy and are one of the best tools for preventing disease, debilitation, and death. Immunizations with childhood vaccines prevent 2 to 3 million deaths every year. They are also one of the most thoroughly tested and safest products in history.
We know from recently completed clinical trials of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for Covid-19 that serious reactions are rare. And as these vaccines are deployed to millions, we will gain even greater confidence in their safety and effectiveness via post-marketing studies.
However, it’s important to be clear about what “safe” means. No vaccine — indeed, no medical treatment — is completely free from side effects. And it is the responsibility of medical professionals to be honest about them so people are prepared and more likely to trust the science. [Continue reading…]