What you need to know about COVID-19 vaccines in Ohio

COVID-19 vaccines are being administered in Ohio, and we know that you may have questions about them. Will they be required? How will I know when it is my turn? Are they safe and effective? Having access to accurate information is key to making an educated decision about choosing to be vaccinated against COVID-19, so we have compiled some helpful at-a-glance information from reliable sources to some of the most commonly-asked questions below. 

Were COVID-19 vaccines rushed? How do I know they are safe? COVID-19 vaccine development and clinical trials were thorough, and thanks to decades of research and a strategic scientific effort to streamline processes, could be developed more efficiently. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as independent medical experts, have ensured that every detail of the COVID-19 vaccines is thoroughly and rigorously evaluated, as outlined in the 50-plus page briefings of the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRPAC) detailing the findings from the clinical trials about effectiveness, safety and side effects of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been shown to be 95% effective, and the Moderna vaccine has been shown to be 94% effective in phase 3 clinical trials with more than 70,000 participants between the two studies, and no serious safety concerns were observed. Read more about how safety is a top priority of the U.S. vaccine safety development and approval process here. 

I’ve seen a lot of rumors on social media about vaccines. How can I tell what is true? The Internet is rife with dangerous misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines, and it can be difficult to know what to trust. The best thing you can do is educate yourself about the vaccines with trustworthy information. Learn more about finding credible vaccine information in this article from the CDC, and separate myths from facts on this page from the Ohio Department of Health or this article from the Mayo Clinic. 

How are vaccines being distributed? At first, there will be a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine, with a phased approach to offering the vaccines to specific critical audiences. Those who are at highest risk of contracting and transmitting the virus will be among the first to be vaccinated. In time, every Ohioan who chooses, may receive a vaccine as soon as large quantities are available. Read more in this vaccine distribution fact sheet from the Ohio Department of Health. 

Were minorities or people with high-risk health conditions included in the clinical studies? Yes. The Phase 3 clinical trials for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (more than 43,000 participants) and Moderna vaccine (more than 30,000 participants) included communities that have historically been under-represented in clinical research and have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. In the Moderna study, 37% of the study population were from communities of color, which is similar to the diversity of the U.S. at large. Approximately 42% of participants in Pfizer BioNTech’s worldwide clinical trials come from diverse backgrounds. In addition, the clinical studies included participants over age 65 (23% of Moderna participants, 21% of Pfizer-BioNTech participants); and those with high-risk chronic diseases that put them at increased risk of severe COVID19, such as diabetes, severe obesity, and cardiac disease (42% of Moderna participants, 46% of Pfizer-BioNTech participants). 

Where can I find more information? 
• CDC: Benefits of Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine
• CDC: What to Expect After Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine article and video 
• CDC: Understanding How COVID-19 Vaccines Work 
• ODH: COVID-19 Vaccines Myths vs. Facts 
• ODH: COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) 
• FDA: What is an EUA article and video 
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