White River Health System breaks down important COVID-19 vaccination info

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The medical staff of White River Health System (WRHS) advocates the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Vaccinations teach our immune system to recognize and fight a virus, WRHS noted in a release. The COVID-19 vaccines have undergone the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S history.

The COVID-19 vaccine will minimize risk of exposure to the virus. While the vaccine will reduce your risk, research is still being done to discover the extent of a vaccinated individual preventing the spread of the virus to an unvaccinated person. For this reason, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend continued precautions in public areas: wear your mask, stay six feet apart, and wash your hands frequently.

“We are confident in the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness,” said Gary Paxson, president & CEO of WRHS. “As we work through vaccination distribution, it is more important than ever to wash your hands, watch your distance, and wear your mask. These simple public health measures, along with the vaccine, are our best strategy to defeat the virus.”

The CDC has broken down common myths about the vaccine such as sickness from the vaccine, alteration of DNA, and fertility issues. The CDC confirms that the vaccine does not contain a live strand of the virus and therefore cannot make you sick with COVID-19. The vaccine will not interact with, or alter, your DNA, and it is safe to take if you are pregnant or are planning on getting pregnant in the future.

The COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are made of MRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid). MRNA delivers instructions to the body on how to make a harmless copy of the spike protein that mimics the protein found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19. When the body recognizes the spike protein on the cell, an immune response is triggered, and antibodies start being developed to fight off the virus. After the protein piece is made, the cell breaks down the instructions and eliminates MRNA from the body; however, the body remembers them. For more information about MRNA vaccines, visit cdc.gov.

While the eligibility in Arkansas has expanded to include everyone from ages 16 and up, certain vaccines being administered are only recommended for ages 18 and up.

For more information on eligibility, or to research more about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit healthy.arkansas.gov.

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