If you’re in any doubt about getting the COVID-19 vaccine when it's your turn, here are 4 things to think about.
1. Avoid severe COVID-19
Whilst older people are more likely to become seriously ill or die with COVID-19, younger people are also at risk. And even if you get mild COVID-19, there’s a risk of long-term problems, such as extreme tiredness, ‘brain fog’ and insomnia – so-called long covid1. There’s no way to know if you’ll be one of the unlucky ones.
The vaccines have so far been extremely effective at preventing severe illness and death2. And, for the majority, the side effects from vaccination tend to be mild and go away after a day or two – much quicker than a typical COVID-19 infection2.
2. Keep family and friends safe
One of the biggest issues with COVID-19 is that people can have it and pass it on without even knowing they’re infected. That’s one of the reasons why the virus has spread so effectively.
Thankfully, not only do the vaccines prevent severe COVID, they also reduce the chance of infecting someone else if you do pick it up3.
It is of course still important to practice social distancing and wash your hands well, but by also getting the vaccine, you can worry less about unknowingly passing on the virus to someone who could become seriously ill or die as a result.
3. It’s our way out of the pandemic
Having the vaccine means you’re part of the solution to the COVID-19 crisis.
We can only get life back to normal once enough people are no longer vulnerable to COVID-19, either because they’re immune, or because there are few cases around. There are two ways to become immune to the virus: by having it, or by having the vaccine. And, the more people are vaccinated, the lower the number of cases there will be.
So, vaccination helps to cut the chance of ongoing restrictions.
4. Keep variants at bay
New coronavirus variants - that is, versions of the virus that have changed or mutated - are a possible cause of further waves of infection in the future.
New variants are more likely to arise when there is a lot of the virus circulating in a population4. So, the more people vaccinated, the lower the risk of potentially troubling new variants.