‘De-fanging’ the virus: Why getting the COVID-19 vaccine is so important

May 3, 2021  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees, ,

The first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines arrived at Michigan Medicine on Dec. 14, 2020, and since that time the organization has administered more than 117,000 doses to faculty, staff, learners and patients. This is a great achievement and an important step in the fight against COVID-19.

In early April, the state of Michigan also opened up vaccination to anyone age 16 years and older, making them eligible to receive the vaccine.

More than 3.9 million people in Michigan, roughly 50 percent of the population over age 16, have already received at least one dose. But more will be required to achieve herd immunity and allow the community to get closer to a sense of normalcy.

Choosing to be vaccinated against COVID-19 is an individual decision, and many people still have questions about the vaccine.

Several Michigan Medicine faculty and staff — some of whom were initially hesitant to receive the vaccine — came together to share their reasons for getting vaccinated and encourage others to do the same.

Check it out in the video above.

Older woman holds sticker that reads "I got my COVID-19 vaccine."

Still have questions?

Two Michigan Medicine experts — Payal Patel, M.D., of the Division of Infectious Disease and Diane Harper, M.D., M.P.H., M.S., of the Department of Internal Medicine — answered some common lingering questions for those on the fence about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

For example, many people are asking: If the vaccines don’t stop every case of COVID-19, is there really a point to getting one? Is the efficacy good enough and how do these vaccines compare to others?

Patel: One way I heard thinking about this is that getting the vaccine “de-fangs” the virus. Your chances of getting sick at all drop by a lot and the chances of you passing it along to people around you also drop. We’re seeing people here in the hospital whose entire families are getting COVID-19. Getting vaccinated not only protects you, it also protects others as well. This is the same case as with the flu shot; if you get the flu shot, even if you get sick, you’re actually much less likely to go to the hospital and get on a breathing machine. The same is true for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Harper: When I talk to my patients, I ask them to think about what’s the possibility of you dying of the disease, and what is your tolerance for that death? If there’s something that would keep you from dying, would you be interested in it and then would your mom or grandma want you to be interested in it. There are a lot of people affected by what happens to you.

Other questions addressed in the livestream include:

  • Should you be worried about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause? 4:12
  • Do the vaccines affect fertility? 16:40
  • If you had COVID-19, should you get the vaccine? 31:42

Watch the “Questions about the COVID-19 Vaccines?” livestream here.