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By Dr. Greg Glasner, BCBSND Chief Medical Officer
Getting vaccinated is a powerful step in keeping your family safe and helping our nation’s economy recover from the trying year that was 2020.
Studies have pointed to the efficacy of vaccines for years. With nationwide distribution, statistics continue to showcase the vaccine’s effectiveness, safety and the need for immunization to move us forward out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Moving toward herd immunity
Our country is in a race against time to safely reach herd immunity without sacrificing any more lives to COVID-19. North Dakota will take a big step toward normalcy once the state has built herd immunity. Herd immunity happens when the majority of people, about 85 percent, become immune to the virus. What’s the fastest, safest way to build immunity? Through COVID-19 vaccinations.
Vaccines are the safest way to build the immunity that society needs to get back to normal. The COVID-19 vaccine offers solutions from decades of state-of-the-art virology and immunology research. This research has resulted in viable vaccine alternatives to natural exposure. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers a person fully vaccinated two weeks after your last dose of vaccine.
None of the science is new. But since private and public entities are working together to expedite the development and delivery of vaccines, we’re getting solutions earlier. Considering early vaccination success, I would anticipate less impact on North Dakota from the COVID-19 pandemic than pandemics of the past.
Is the COVID-19 vaccine for you?
In my time as a doctor and medical advisor to patients and members, I have seen the dire need to minimize the effects of COVID-19 and our ability as health care providers to leverage the effectiveness of the vaccines. I strongly recommend all North Dakotans receive their COVID-19 vaccination.
Even if you already had COVID-19, I recommend you get vaccinated, as the CDC recommends. The length of natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity are both being studied. Experts are continually learning about similarities and differences between natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity.
People not in a specific at-risk group should still consider vaccination to help ensure the safety of those in high-risk groups who are unable to be vaccinated. While the vaccine will prevent most from getting sick, ongoing research is needed to determine if the vaccines prevent you from harboring and spreading coronavirus. Therefore, mask-wearing, social distancing and handwashing are encouraged.
BCBSND members' vaccination is free
BCBSND is dedicated to improving access to the COVID-19 vaccines, therefore, the organization is eliminating member cost sharing/deductibles for those who wish to be vaccinated. All North Dakotans are currently eligible to receive the vaccine.
To find a North Dakota vaccination location, visit vaccinefinder.org. If you have questions about whether you should receive the vaccine, talk to your physician.