January 7, 2021

COVID-19 Vaccines are Here: What You Need to Know

COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you from getting COVID-19. 

Current COVD-19 vaccinations are proven to be about 95% effective. Two doses of the shot are needed – depending on the specific vaccine you get, a second shot 3-4 weeks after your first shot is needed to get the most protection the vaccine has to offer against this serious disease.

Getting vaccinated is a great way to keep yourself, your family and your community healthy.

Vaccines prevent disease and keep our communities safe and healthy. When enough people are vaccinated against COVID-19, the virus can’t travel as easily from person to person — and the entire community is less likely to get the disease. Vaccination helps us ensure the safety of others so we can eventually return to work, see family and friends without worry, and resume activities in the community.

The safety of COVID-19 vaccines is a top priority.

Vaccines to protect against COVID-19 have been developed with unprecedented speed, and we know for some of you that’s raised concerns about safety. Like any vaccine, COVID-19 vaccines are being carefully evaluated through clinical trials and must meet safety standards before being approved by the FDA. Additionally, while this is a new vaccine, vaccines are a tried and true development dating back centuries. Vaccines have been successful in controlling the spread of other dangerous diseases, including smallpox and polio.

Vaccine supplies are limited, so certain groups will be recommended to receive the vaccine first.

Although the first COVID-19 vaccines have arrived in Oregon, getting a vaccine is still months away for many of us in the community. As COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, Oregon Health Authority (OHA) will ensure the distribution process is based on community involvement that will provide an equitable system challenging the roles of power, privilege and racism — informed by a newly assembled Vaccine Advisory Committee (VAC). People who are most affected by the COVID-19 virus will have first access to the vaccination. In Oregon, that will be front-line health care workers who are exposed to the virus in their work.

Vaccines will not solve this health crisis immediately.

The vaccine won’t end the pandemic unless the majority of the public is vaccinated. It’s important that everyone participates so we can achieve community-wide immunity, which is indicated by a vaccination level of 70-85%. So while vaccination gives us hope that the pandemic will end, in the meantime, we need to continue safety measures to keep the virus from spreading: wear a mask, watch your distance (6-feet or more, please), wash your hands, avoid gatherings and stay home when you’re sick.