A doctor offers assurance about vaccines


To the editor:

The COVID-19 vaccines represent a remarkable public health achievement. Within a span of less than 12 months, safe and effective vaccines to prevent COVID were developed, tested and authorized for use. Understandably, many people are struggling with questions about whether it’s OK to be vaccinated.

The rapid pace of vaccine development would have been impossible without massive government investment and decades of prior research on similar types of vaccine technology and similar types of viruses. More importantly, each authorized vaccine has progressed through the same phases of animal and human testing as any other approved vaccine, and ongoing surveillance is underway for adverse effects among the more than 150 million Americans who were vaccinated. Now, with six months of post-vaccination data, Pfizer is seeking full FDA approval for its vaccine. The two other companies are expected to submit similar requests soon.

Vaccination is not only about your health but also about the health of others. All the available vaccines are nearly 100% effective at preventing COVID-related hospitalization and death. This is even true for infections due to the many variants that are emerging around the globe. In addition, by substantially reducing your risk of infection, getting vaccinated will make it far less likely that you would pass the virus on to your family, your friends and others in the community who are at increased risk for severe illness. For this reason, the U.S. Catholic bishops have called getting vaccinated “an act of charity that serves the common good.”


Vaccination is an important tool to ending the pandemic and returning to normal. Whether or not you take the COVID vaccine is an important decision, which not only affects you but others as well. So give it some thought, and talk to your doctor. You’ll be happy that you did.

Dan Livorsi, MD
Iowa City

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