While everyone over 16 is now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine and vaccinations are increasing, the community is still not at a level of herd immunity to protect us from the virus. New Hanover County Health and Human Services leaders are concerned that residents think the pandemic is under control, and are sharing this message with residents to help build community immunity:
Every person vaccinated takes us one step closer to developing herd immunity and there are two ways to achieve this community-wide immunity: either a large proportion of the population gets infected or gets a protective vaccine.
Our goal is to have at least 70 percent of our population vaccinated to help make the spread of the virus from person to person less likely. Right now, around 30 percent of our residents have been fully vaccinated. So we have work to do.
If you are thinking that getting the virus isn’t that bad for someone your age, it is important to know that the more people the virus infects, the more chances it has to mutate and the longer it will take to control the pandemic. Just this week, we lost two more residents to COVID-19, and 298 others were infected.
The more people who are vaccinated as quickly as possible, the less opportunity the virus will have to mutate, develop new variants, and spread – and the closer we will be to herd immunity.
We know some of you are hesitant to receive the vaccine because you are unsure of the side effects you may experience, or you want to wait and see if the vaccine is safe.
We are here to tell you: The development of COVID-19 vaccines is based on years of research and they have undergone the same safety requirements as all other vaccines commonly used. They are safe. And any possible, short-lived side effects from the vaccine are much better than the potential severe complications from the virus if you are infected.
You may feel feverish or weak for a day or two after the vaccine, or you may have no side effects at all. Both responses are ok and perfectly normal. Side effects are your body’s way of showing that it is building immunity, and that’s a good thing.
COVID-19 can cause severe illness with lasting impacts on a person’s health. Those severe complications from the virus, or the potential of spreading it to someone you care about, and worst of all – death – are what we want to avoid; and we hope you do too.
We urge you to join your friends, family, colleagues, neighbors and the other 81,000 New Hanover County residents who have received a vaccine so that we can reach a critical level of protection, take control of the pandemic, and have new opportunities to get together safely.