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UAB doctor says there are 3 things you need to know about COVID vaccines

Vaccine confidence continues to be a factor for many Alabamians who have not yet received a...
Vaccine confidence continues to be a factor for many Alabamians who have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine, many citing the unknown long-term effects from getting vaccinated. But one local doctor said he’s confident that the vaccines are safe now and will be in the future.(WBRC)
Published: Jul. 7, 2021 at 5:34 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Vaccine confidence continues to be a factor for many Alabamians who have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine, many citing the unknown long-term effects from getting vaccinated.

But one local doctor said he’s confident that the vaccines are safe now and will be in the future.

The Director of the Alabama Vaccine Research Clinic at UAB said there are three things you should know about the long-term side effects of COVID vaccines, and he’s hoping this information will put any fears to rest.

First, COVID vaccines have been available for about six months now and Dr. Paul Goepfert said that’s plenty of time to show evidence the vaccines are safe long-term.

“Vaccines generally don’t have long-term side effects. You don’t get side effects that happen later on that you didn’t have early on. So, you may have a side effect that happens early that could linger long-term, but you don’t get something that happens later on,” Dr. Goepfert explained.

He admitted there are side effect associated with all vaccines, but the most common side effects with COVID shots typically show up within a few weeks.

“This is unlike medicines you take for blood pressure as an example where you take it every day in which case you can have a long-term side effect because the drug can accumulate and your body reacts differently over time, but for vaccines that’s really not going to happen,” Dr. Goepfert said.

Second, some worry the COVID vaccines were developed too quickly, and fear short cuts were taken to get them into people’s arms.

But Dr. Goepfert said Emergency Use Authorization would not have been granted if they weren’t safe.

“The vaccines weren’t rushed; they went through the whole process that’s normally done to create a vaccine. Many companies and governments, including the U.S. government, put a lot of money into the development of these vaccines, and so any time you can put that much money into something and contribute that much effort into something it’s going to go by much more quickly,” Dr. Goepfert said.

Third, Dr. Goepfert added that it’s almost inevitable that those who are unvaccinated will eventually become infected with COVID-19 or one of its variants.

He said the rare side effects anyone might experience from the COVID vaccines are far less problematic than getting the virus itself.

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