It’s the question millions of Americans have asked: Should I get a COVID-19 vaccine? KSBY asked local doctors that question, and their answers echo healthcare professionals across the country.
Dr. Scott Robertson, President & CEO of the Pacific Central Coast Health Centers for Dignity Health, says the mRNA vaccines from both Pfizer and Moderna are incredibly safe for all people who are eligible to receive them. He says it’s extremely effective, especially in preventing severe illness and death.
But who should not get a COVID-19 vaccine?
“There’s really only a category of patients, and those are those who have had severe reactions to previous vaccines or one of the other COVID vaccines,” Dr. Robertson said. “An example might be an anaphylactic or severe allergic reaction which would cause somebody to be hospitalized or interrupt their breathing in a severe way. Outside of this, having other types of chronic conditions will not preclude anyone from getting a COVID vaccine.”
“Anybody who can get be vaccinated should be vaccinated. It has shown itself to be extremely effective,” said Dr. Brian Roberts, MedStop Urgent Care Center Medical Director. “It’s extremely effective and doing what it’s designed to do - keeping you from getting extremely ill and keeping you out of the hospital.”
Dr. Robertson says the mRNA vaccines have also been shown to be safe for the millions of pregnant women in the United States that have received them.
When it comes to everyday illnesses, he says getting a vaccine can be postponed temporarily, not avoided entirely.
“With regards to other populations, for people that are undergoing some kind of acute illness, sick with a respiratory illness or a GI (gastrointestinal) illness, or are hospitalized with another illness, it may be okay to postpone getting the vaccine until you feel better, but certainly, that wouldn’t preclude you from getting the COVID vaccine,” Dr. Robertson said.
“The type of issues you think about are severe allergic reactions,” Dr. Roberts added. “If there are components of this vaccine where you have anaphylaxis or a life-threatening allergic reaction, you shouldn’t take it. If you are on very active chemotherapy where your immune system is in terrible condition at that point, why would you take the risk?”
Dr. Robertson went on to say that for people with chronic illnesses like lung disease, heart disease, and diabetes, that’s a group that should be prioritized for getting the vaccine.