Still undecided about getting the COVID-19 vaccine? Consider this confidence-boosting data point: 99.99%.
That skyscraping percentage is the result of some basic math indicating how well the shots work. Among the 163 million Americans considered fully vaccinated, just 6,587 "breakthrough" cases leading to hospitalization or death have been reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The reassuring arithmetic: 99.99% have not had a serious breakthrough case of COVID. While no vaccine is 100%, the new data shared by the CDC is impressive. It's yet another reason for those still unvaccinated to seek out the shots.
Minnesota's overall vaccination rate still has plenty of room for improvement. Around 64% of those currently eligible for vaccination (ages 12 and older) are considered fully protected against the virus, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. That involves completing the two-shot series for Pfizer and Moderna, or one shot for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Only the Pfizer vaccine is authorized for use in ages 12-15.
Getting as many people as possible vaccinated is key to ending the pandemic. Yet many people have questions about the shots. That's understandable. But it's also important to realize that there are answers to these questions. In addition, it's important to seek out information from reliable sources.
Fortunately, respected Minnesota physicians have taken the time to address some of the most common concerns holding people back. As part of the Star Tribune Editorial Board's "Our Best Shot" series, doctors from the state's world-class health care systems have tackled a range of questions. Among them:
Does the COVID vaccine cause infertility? There is no evidence of this. Hear more from Dr. Sarah Cross, medical director of M Health Fairview's The Birthplace, and an assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology and women's health at the University of Minnesota Medical School.
Is the vaccine "gene therapy"? Again, the answer is no. Marc Jenkins, director of the U's Center for Immunology and professor at U's medical school, explained how the messenger RNA technology powering the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines works.
Concerned about side effects? The Mayo Clinic's Dr. Greg Poland weighed in and said that the biggest risk by far is not getting vaccinated.
Several of the editorials in the eight-part series are accompanied by a video interviews to provide more depth. For credible information from trusted doctors who care for Minnesota communities, go to tinyurl.com/stribourbestshot.