We have begun to turn a corner in this pandemic. To get to the other side, we need to develop vaccine confidence in our community by addressing hesitancy, answering questions, and creating easy opportunities to get a vaccine. This effort benefits us all.
When the vaccine was first available, demand was far greater than supply. Now we have plenty of appointments and need more people to get the vaccine. It's easy to think the end of the pandemic is in sight.
But with only a little more than half our population with at least one dose, we are not there yet. We need closer to 80% of the community vaccinated to slow the spread of the disease.
We understand not everyone is on board.
As physicians at Mayo Clinic Health System in Cannon Falls, Lake City and Red Wing, we are confident in the COVID vaccine as a way to overcome this pandemic. We have conversations every day with patients about the vaccine, and hear their questions, hesitation and fears. It is our job to listen and to provide accurate information. Based on what we know, vaccination is the best, fastest and safest way out of the pandemic.
It is quite normal to have questions, especially if you are a parent making decisions for your children. Unfortunately, there are a lot of myths about the vaccine that have no basis in fact, like the internet myth alleging that vaccination can cause infertility, which is completely false. We are here to provide the accurate information.
There is one common theme in most conversations. Nearly all our patients tell us how much they want things to get "back to normal." They want to participate in family events, travel, shop without a mask, stand shoulder-to-shoulder at a sporting event or concert. We understand. We want these things for all of us, too.
Here’s what we all share with family, friends and patients when they ask about the vaccine:
The three vaccines granted emergency use authorizations by the FDA – Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen -- underwent the same testing and clinical trial process as every other vaccine we commonly use. Tens of thousands of patients in clinical trials received these vaccines without serious side effects.
The COVID vaccines available result in a strong immune response. The duration of immunity appears to last longer, at least six months, than the immunity that may come with recovering from COVID-19. COVID vaccines do not pose the risk of hospitalization or dying seen with COVID infection.
We know there are some people who are not able to be vaccinated due to allergies, being immunocompromised or for other reasons. That makes it more important than ever for those who can be vaccinated to do so right away. The vaccine not only keeps you safe – it makes our families, schools and communities safer, too.
In Goodhue County, we're making progress. With improved vaccine supply from the Minnesota Department of Health, we have ample vaccine for anyone 12 years and older now that the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for use in younger people. Appointments are readily available.
As health care providers, we are doing what we can, but we can’t be at your family dinner table, or at your place of worship or talking with your neighbors and other parents. Think of the areas of influence you have and reach out. Helping one another feel confident about getting vaccinated and supporting those who seek vaccine reassurance, we envision a hopeful future and even stronger, more resilient sense of community.
No need to wait for vaccination
Mayo Clinic Health System is now providing COVID-19 vaccinations to anyone 16 and up. Patients and community members no longer need to wait to be contacted to get vaccinated for COVID-19, and appointments are readily available.
Anyone, including non-Mayo patients, can schedule an appointment to get vaccinated for COVID-19 at Mayo Clinic in Rochester and at Mayo Clinic Health System sites across Minnesota. Those seeking vaccination appointments do not need to be a resident of Minnesota to get vaccinated in Minnesota.
For those who wish to schedule an appointment, call the appointment line at:
Mayo Clinic in Rochester: 507-538-4040
Mayo Clinic Health System in Southeast Minnesota: 507-434-9929
Mayo Clinic Health System in Southwest Minnesota: 507-594-2100
For information about the COVID vaccine, visit the Mayo Clinic Health System or Goodhue County Health and Human Services websites.