Making the Case for COVID-19 Vaccination

Masked health worker fills a syringe

Photo Credit: Effingham Health System

Effingham Health System (EHS), located in Springfield, Ga., knows it’s important to use all the tools available to help stop the COVID-19 pandemic and get people vaccinated. And it has created a smart strategy to address concerns around the vaccine’s safety. In fact, educating people on vaccine safety has become a top priority at the rural health system.

Focus has been on making it easy for people to get informed and make educated decisions based on accurate, science-based data. EHS’ digital vaccine information center explains how the U.S. vaccine safety system works to ensure that all vaccines are as safe as possible, and how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has developed a new tool, v-safe, as an additional layer of safety. The tool increases the ability to rapidly detect any safety issues with COVID-19 vaccines. It’s a new smartphone-based, after-vaccination health checker for people who receive COVID-19 vaccines.

EHS also provides detailed information on the vaccines’ potential side effects. Visitors to the digital vaccine information center will learn that the risk of severe side effects is low — much lower than the risk of getting COVID-19 if they don't get vaccinated — and find helpful tips on reducing minor side effects, such as soreness at the injection site and mild, flu-like symptoms, including headache and body aches.

Moreover, EHS wants to make sure people know that the vaccines are administered at no cost.

As children age 12 and over are now eligible for the vaccines, Bailey Alford, M.D., pediatric medicine at EHS, is talking with parents about the benefits of getting kids vaccinated. In a Facebook video, Alford explains that while some children with COVID-19 experience mild symptoms, it’s not the case for all kids.

“We now know about a serious complication that can come after COVID called MIS-C, or multisystem inflammatory syndrome, in children,” said Alford. “Usually it leads to hospitalization and sometimes ICU admissions, and it can lead to long-standing heart damage.” CDC is collaborating with domestic and international partners to better understand this new syndrome, including how common it is and its risk factors.

Fran Witt, chief executive officer at EHS, shared this sentiment with her staff: "This vaccine is a major, proactive step that offers us hope in fighting this virus."