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It’s important to get the COVID-19 vaccine; it protects

Information, news stories, articles and advice are coming at Americans from all sides these days when it comes to COVID-19, its spread, prevention, and especially about the vaccines, their effectiveness, who is eligible and how to get one.
There’s a lot to know and it is vitally important that we share accurate, credible, and reliable information.
The big question is: Will we ever get back to normal again?
The short answer is yes! But, new normal, initially, may look a little different where people might be more conscious about social distancing, frequent hand washing and even, for some, holding on to their face masks for a while. This actually is not necessarily a bad thing when transitioning to a post COVID-19 world. But as time passes and the number of cases and the hospitalization rate starts to go down, COVID-19 will leave the public stage.
Presently, there are three vaccines available in the U.S. Pfizer-BioNtech, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson. Both Pfizer and Moderna require two vaccines, however, Johnson and Johnson requires only one dose and is 72 percent effective.
And, just because you got the vaccine, it is not time to throw away the mask. First, you do not get the full benefit for about 7-10 days after the second dose. So, it would be best to be very careful for a week or two, depending on the vaccine, after the second dose. Second and more importantly, we are not yet clear if vaccinated people can still transmit the disease. When you are exposed to coronavirus it will go up to your nostrils and start to replicate to make you sick. If you are vaccinated, chances of getting sick are extremely low, but you can still expose others. So, when you get vaccinated you are protected, but you still need to protect the people around you.
Yes, there are some side effects to the vaccine. Obviously, it varies from person to person, but the most common side effects reported are pain at the injection site, muscle aches, mild fatigue, headaches and joint pain. These side effects are reported to be more common, and more pronounced, after the second dose.
Also, it is important to note that it is expected that young adults may have more side effects than older adults since young adults tend to have stronger immune systems. Either way, this is good news because these side effects are telling you that your immune system is at work and doing what it is supposed to do.
Which vaccine should you get? Any vaccine as soon as it is available! That is the only way we will get out of this pandemic.
Presently, the Northeast County Health Departments are offering extended hours to increase access to COVID-19 vaccinations in communities. Beginning this week, COVID-19 vaccination sites will be open to provide vaccinations with expanded morning and evening appointments. The Northeast Region counties, which includes Carter County, are now vaccinating residents in Phases 1 and 2 of the state’s COVID-19 vaccination plan, along with anyone aged 55 and older.
And, beginning April 1, Gov. Bill Lee said Monday anyone 16 and older will be able to get the vaccination. And, this is good news since the more people who choose to get their vaccinations, the sooner our region can return to normal day-to-day activities.
So, get vaccinated as soon as you can and continue to practice social distancing and other precautions.