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COVID vaccine: What questions should you be asking?

Concern is valid, says expert
Posted at 9:51 PM, Nov 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-17 21:51:58-05

As we wait for the official word on when a COVID-19 vaccine will be available, many people have questions.

Moderna and Pfizer both have promising vaccines in the pipeline and testing hasn't turned up any major health concerns, according to both companies. However, both still need to get emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration before any doses can be released.

But will a vaccine be safe? Many people are wondering, considering it's brand new and was developed quickly compared to other vaccines.

An expert on medical and health communication at IUPUI says concerns are valid. "I think a lot of people have concerns about vaccines. We in the vaccine world call that vaccine hesitancy. I would encourage those people to go and talk to their trusted health care provider," said Dr. Katharine Head, IUPUI Associate Professor of Communication Studies.

"We're seeing a lot of stuff in the news, we're seeing a lot of people talking about COVID and being experts on it," said Dr. Head. "But at the end of the day, I hope that you have a trusted health care provider who you can go to. Talk to them, ask them, is this vaccine safe? Should I get it? Is it right for me?"

When a vaccine is ready, it will likely go first to frontline healthcare workers and those most at risk of the virus.

Doctor Anthony Fauci says any vaccine probably won't be available to the general population until sometime next spring.