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"I encourage everyone to review the evidence and trust the science..."

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"I encourage everyone to review the evidence and trust the science..."

Together we can stop the spread of COVID-19

I am very grateful to have recently completed my COVID-19 vaccination series. An end to a long era of social distancing and global suffering finally seems within reach. Part of me feels relief. The other part hopes enough people will be inspired to get vaccinated so we can reach herd immunity.

As I received my first vaccine, I remember thinking, "Wow this did not hurt as bad as the flu shot." I then braced myself for possible side effects. Luckily, the only side effect I experienced was a sore arm for a day after both shots. My colleagues also reported similar experiences. For the second shot, some of my colleagues felt more fatigued compared to the first dose. I have not heard of any severe vaccine reactions from anyone I know personally.

Some may be skeptical regarding the accelerated approval process of the vaccine clinical trial. However, scientists were not starting from scratch when they learned about COVID-19. Other coronaviruses such as ones that cause the common cold, SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) epidemic in 2002, or MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) epidemic in 2012 laid some of the groundwork for the development of the COVID vaccination. Adapting what we knew from prior coronavirus research and applying it to new advancements in mRNA vaccine technology provided most of the preclinical phase data. Due to the current public health emergency, the FDA allocated efforts towards vaccine development, while not sacrificing scientific standards, the integrity of the vaccine review process or safety.

I chose to get COVID vaccinated as I feel the potential sequela of COVID infection carries a far greater risk than the likelihood of any vaccination side effects. I encourage everyone to review the evidence and trust the science. Together we can stop the spread of COVID-19.

- Anita Balaji, PA

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