Wednesday, August 3, 2022
CMO Message: The Importance of Vaccines
By this point in time, almost everyone has either gotten sick from COVID-19 or knows of someone close to them who got infected. Seeing cases of the virus all around us, especially if the majority of people fully recover without long-term effects, normalizes COVID-19 in our lives. While this normalization is important for reducing stigma and increasing awareness, it can also lead to complacency around getting vaccinated. It’s all too easy to skip boosters when it might not seem like a big deal to get sick or when you hear of people getting infected even when they are up to date on their vaccines.
It’s important to remember that the greatest protection the vaccines offer is against severe illness, hospitalization, and death. Although they do protect against infection, people who are up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines may still get infected but are less likely to have severe symptoms compared to others who are not vaccinated.
A primary COVID-19 vaccine series is generally recommended for everyone ages 6 months and older and boosters are recommended for everyone ages 5 years and older. Since protection from the vaccines decreases over time, especially for older adults and those who are immunocompromised, boosters are critical to stay protected from infection. As an added benefit, if you are up to date on your COVID-19 vaccines and are exposed to the virus, you do not need to quarantine as long as you are asymptomatic. The number of boosters you need and when you are due for them varies by age, vaccine type, and medical history. For more detailed information about COVID-19 vaccine recommendations, please visit the CDC website for the latest information or speak to your healthcare provider.
It’s never too late to get your primary vaccine series or boosters. With the widespread availability of COVID-19 vaccines, there’s no need to take a chance on getting sick when you have the option to protect yourself and loved ones. For more information on getting your vaccines, please contact UnitedAg member services at 800.223.4590 and we’ll ensure that you get the care you need.
- Where can I find information about what vaccinations I need for COVID-19?
For detailed information about COVID-19 primary series vaccines and boosters by vaccine type and age groups, please visit the CDC website. To find out when you can get your booster, please visit the CDC’s booster tool for additional recommendations.
- If I previously had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get the vaccine or boosters?
Yes. The vaccines provide additional protection and reduce your risk of getting COVID-19 again. You may consider waiting until 3 months after your infection to get your vaccine and your healthcare provider can provide personalized guidance on when you should get your next dose.
- If I’m currently sick with COVID-19 should I still get the vaccine if I’m due for a dose?
No. Before getting your vaccine, you need to complete your isolation period to avoid spreading the virus to others.
- What is the difference between being “fully vaccinated” and “up to date” with the COVID-19 vaccines?
You are considered “fully vaccinated” two weeks after the last dose of the vaccine in your primary series, or your initial set of vaccines. Being “up to date” means that you have received your primary series of vaccines and all recommended boosters for COVID-19.
- Should I wait between getting the COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines?
You do not need to wait between getting the COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines. The COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines, such as the flu vaccine, can be given at the same visit.
- Rosemary Ku, MD/MBA/MPA