Watch the video to hear from someone who weighed the risks, then explore this page to decide for yourself.
Your chance of getting seriously ill from the vaccine is about 0.012%. Most people have only minor side effects that go away within a few days. Some people have no side effects at all.
Your chance of getting COVID-19 is 75% higher than the national average. And, one in six people who get COVID-19 develop a serious illness, like having trouble breathing.
You may experience mild side effects that may disrupt your daily routine, but they will be temporary, often lasting for just a few days. Some people have no side effects at all.
You will avoid the chance of temporary side effects, but your body will not have help in developing immunity to COVID-19. If you contract the virus, your body will likely produce some antibodies and immune cells that can fight off the infection – the majority of people do – but there is no way to predict exactly how successful or unsuccessful your body’s immune response will be.
1 in 6 people who get the disease will have severe problems, such as trouble breathing
You will be protected from getting sick from COVID-19, and that includes the long-term effects experienced by “long haulers.” And, while independent researchers continue to monitor for side effects, people who are vaccinated have very low instances of serious side effects or illness.
You have a 75% higher chance of getting COVID-19 compared to the national average. This means, you may become ill with COVID-19, both in the acute phase of the disease, and perhaps experiencing some long-term effects for months. This is an emerging area of scientific understanding. Here’s what we know so far about the long-term effects, who gets them, and what’s up with the lost sense of smell.
With the vaccine, everyone receives the same dose, a dose that research shows is effective at generating an immune response.
If you contract the virus, your body will likely produce some antibodies and immune cells that can fight off the infection – the majority of people do – but there is no way to predict exactly how successful or unsuccessful your body’s immune response will be.
Current estimates suggest that allergic reactions occur in about 2 to 11 people for every million vaccine doses given (that’s 2.5 to 11.1 cases to be exact). People who have a history of allergy are more likely to have a reaction, which is why the person giving the vaccine will ask questions about allergies when you arrive. And, while rare, when allergic reaction does occur, it happens right after vaccination and it is treatable. This is why you sit for 15 minutes after receiving your vaccination before leaving the building. A healthcare worker will be present to help you immediately.
You will not have to worry about a potential allergic reaction. However, you will not be able to predict or control how your body will respond to COVID-19, if you contract it.
Some people suffer from the effects of COVID-19 for months after the acute phase of the illness (often they are called “long haulers”). We are still learning a lot about the long-term effects, but here’s what we know now:
While it’s clear that people with certain risk factors (including high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, obesity, and other conditions) are more likely to have a serious bout of COVID-19 (during the initial illness), there is no clear link between these risk factors and long-term problems.
More studies will shed light on why these lingering health problems persist in some people. They could be due to organ damage from COVID-19, a persistent inflammatory or autoimmune response to getting sick with COVID-19, or another reason.
Mild or moderate COVID-19 lasts about two weeks for most people, but health problems can linger for months. We are still learning why some folks become “long haulers” with these persistent health issues.
Losing your sense of smell—or anosmia, to use the technical term—can occur during a case of COVID-19. Sometimes, it is the only symptom. Other times, it accompanies other mild symptoms such as a dry cough.
It remains unclear why this happens. But, it happens frequently—in perhaps as much as 86 percent of COVID-19 cases. And, it happens slightly more frequently in women.
The sooner someone recognizes and reports their lost sense of smell, the sooner they can get COVID-19 testing and treatment, and the sooner they can protect others by quarantining while they await the test results.
Lost sense of smell can last from approximately three weeks to several months—and it can be disruptive to mental health. People who feel a greater sense of anxiety, depression, or isolation should reach out to a mental health counselor or trusted friend or family member for comfort and support.
A study of more than 2,500 patients at 18 European hospitals found lost sense of smell in 55 percent of patients with mild cases of COVID-19 and in 37 percent of moderate-to-critical cases.