I've heard many Hispanic and LatinX people in the community tell me they’re hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine. While there’s a lot of great information out there about COVID-19 and the vaccine, there’s also a lot of misinformation on social media. It can be hard to know what to believe.
For me, the vaccine helped relieve my fears. I was concerned when I first heard about COVID-19. I’m a cancer survivor and I have diabetes. Both conditions place me in the high-risk category for getting COVID-19.
I’ve received the vaccine and have also done a lot of research. I’d like to share some of the most common questions I’ve heard from people in my community and provide answers from credible sources.
I’d also like to reassure everyone in the Hispanic and LatinX community that the COVID vaccine is the safest way to protect your health and the health of your children and your family.
What are the side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine?
The most common side effects are redness, pain and swelling in the arm where the shot is given. People have also shared that they’re tired, have headaches and muscle aches. Some people may have fever, chills or nausea, too.
The good news is that side effects usually go away within a day or two. Also, these reactions mean that your body’s immune system is charging up to protect you from the virus that causes COVID-19. I always tell people to keep an eye on any symptoms after they get their shot, and call their doctor if they have any concerns.
Was the vaccine rushed?
It’s true that the vaccines were developed very quickly, but it’s also true that the research teams followed protocols to help ensure the vaccines are safe and effective.
Because the virus was spreading rapidly across the United States and the world, the research teams received support from government agencies to make the clinical trial process more efficient and help put an end to the pandemic. We’ve learned a lot from previous viral outbreaks, and know vaccines are the best way to protect large populations of people from getting life-threatening viruses.
One of the reasons the vaccines happened so fast was that thousands of people immediately signed up for the clinical trials.
During the clinical trials, researchers studied how effective the vaccines are in preventing COVID. Before they were approved for Emergency Use Authorization, they were also tested for safety.
The vaccines are held to the very same safety standards as other vaccines, such as the flu vaccine, which is given every year. We continue to monitor the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines as more and more people get vaccinated.
Does the vaccine contain harmful ingredients?
The vaccines use ingredients that are safe. These ingredients provide protection from the virus and keep the vaccines safe and long-lasting. The COVID vaccines teach your immune system to recognize and get rid of the virus that causes COVID-19. The vaccines cannot infect you with the COVID-19 virus, and do not interact with your DNA in any way.
Our immune system protects us from harmful viruses, so why do we need a vaccine?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people who are LatinX and Hispanic are more likely to get COVID-19 than any other racial or ethnic group. They’re also more likely to get a serious case of COVID. Children who are exposed to or get COVID-19 are especially susceptible to a rare but serious condition called multisystem inflammatory syndrome, or MIS-C.
The COVID vaccine was designed to teach your immune system to recognize and fight the virus. This helps you, your family and your community stay healthy without experiencing sickness, serious complications or loss of life.
Can the COVID-19 vaccine cause infertility?
There’s no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine is a risk to unborn babies or to a person’s ability to get pregnant. If you’re trying to get pregnant now, or planning to try in the future, you should feel safe about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
If you’re breastfeeding, you should also feel safe to get the vaccine.
As researchers continue to study those who have received the vaccine, there have been reports that breastmilk in vaccinated mothers may contain immunity proteins that help protect your baby from the virus that causes COVID-19.
What else should we know about getting the vaccine?
The COVID vaccine is absolutely the best way for everyone to protect themselves from the virus that causes COVID-19. Even if you’ve already had COVID-19, getting the vaccine helps protect you from getting it again. It also protects those most vulnerable in our communities, including those who have health conditions and children who are not yet eligible for vaccination.
When I hear that someone in my community won’t protect themselves because of false information or because of something they’ve read about on social media, I feel that’s an opportunity for education.
I’d like to encourage everyone in my community to read as much as you can from credible sources such as your local hospital, doctor’s office or the CDC, and get your COVID-19 shot as soon as you can.
Get answers to more COVID vaccine questions from the Hispanic and Latino community >
Where to Get Vaccinated
These vaccines will be available in retail pharmacies, pediatrician's offices, children's hospitals, vaccine clinics and other locations.
You can search online or check government websites like vaccines.gov to find out where the vaccine is being given near you.
There are also a number of vaccine clinics located throughout the Philadelphia area. Visit thisisourshotphilly.org to find a location near you.