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Make COVID-19 a thing of the past – get vaccinated when you can

The COVID-19 vaccine is our most powerful weapon in the fight against the pandemic. And soon it will be available to everyone.

But while many people — including two-thirds of Geisinger employees — have eagerly chosen to roll up their sleeves to get the shots, some people are still afraid to take this vital step toward better health and normal living.

The COVID-19 vaccine brings hope because this is a vital step in getting back to normal. It’s the meaningful things that we look forward to, like face-to-face interactions, for example — hugging family, friends and relatives. I think everyone could use a big hug right now!

As a health care professional, I want to reassure you that the science behind the vaccine is sound, rooted in years of research and preparation for this type of health emergency.

Here are a few facts:

The vaccine was relatively quick to produce because a similar approach had been studied for vaccines that fight flu, Zika and rabies, among other diseases.

The COVID vaccines we’re distributing have passed safety protocols set by the FDA.

You can’t get COVID-19 from the vaccine, because it doesn’t contain the live virus. You might get a sore arm, fever and headache for a day or two as your body ramps up its immunity.

The internet is full of myths, including stories about “chips” implanted in the vaccine. This type of misinformation threatens to slow the adoption of the vaccine, putting more people at risk for a disease that’s already claimed more than 2 million lives globally, including over 400,000 in the US and 21,000 in Pennsylvania. I urge everyone to turn to reliable sources such as geisinger.org/covidvax, the state Department of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to get more facts about COVID-19 and efforts to stop it.

And when you get the chance, get vaccinated. We’re working to make this as easy as possible — including providing a simple way for you to schedule your vaccination appointment through myGeisinger.

We have the power to stop the virus. Let’s get it done.

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Kirk Thomas is Chief Administrative Officer of the Geisinger Western Region.

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