From December through the end of March, an estimated 145 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been given in the United States. The vaccines are proving to be both safe and effective.

Tens of thousands of people participated in COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials before it was approved for the general public. The federal Food and Drug Administration requires extensive studies in evaluating a vaccine’s safety, effectiveness and quality prior to approval.

“It is important for people to realize the process used to approve vaccines is rigorous, because in the end, the overall safety of the general public is what is really important,” said Tifani Kinard, Administrator and Chief Nursing Officer at Polk Medical Center.

Tracking of serious side effects thus far has been reassuring. Some people have had no side effects. Some common side effects have been reported, including:

♦ Swelling, redness and pain at injection site

♦ Fever

♦ Headache

♦ Tiredness

♦ Muscle pain

♦ Chills

♦ Nausea

Anaphylaxis, one of the most severe reactions has been reported, but incidents have been “extremely rare,” according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In case it occurs, medicine can be provided to quickly and effectively treat such a reaction.

That is why if you get your vaccination at Polk Medical Center you will be asked to remain at the site for at least 15 minutes to be observed. If you do have an allergic reaction, which is unlikely, you can receive treatment.

You will not be considered fully vaccinated until two weeks after your second shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, or two weeks after the single-dose of the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.

Polk Medical Center has set up some Saturday vaccination clinics to make getting your shot more convenient. The free vaccine will be provided on Saturday, April 10, from 8 a.m. to noon and on Saturday, May 1, from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the hospital.

Since the hospital is providing the Pfizer vaccine, which requires two doses spread three weeks apart, second doses only will be scheduled on May 22.

To make an appointment, visit floyd.org/covidvaccine. You can make an appointment for the second shot when you receive the first one. If you have any questions or can’t make the Saturday dates, please call 770-749-4125.

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