COVID-19 Vaccine Prevents Serious Illness

Rural residents are being encouraged to get the COVID-19 vaccine, if they haven’t already, to protect their community. With a recent rise in cases, and a more contagious variant, getting the vaccine can keep you from getting very ill from COVID-19. Dr. Matthew Malachowski systems director for population health and ambulatory care for Ochsner Health in Louisiana, says the vaccine is keeping people out of the hospital.

“Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent serious illness. Vaccines are continuing to provide fully vaccinated individuals a high degree of protection against serious illness and hospitalization and even possibly death. It’s one thing to be sick and to not feel well, it’s another to require hospitalization, especially when a hospital setting may not be nearby. And so, getting vaccinated to make sure that you don’t require those treatments is very helpful and protective.”

The Delta variant of COVID-19 this summer caused a spike in cases and rural communities were not immune.

“So, the Delta variant is more contagious than some of the previous variants that we’ve run into. It’s more likely to spread from one person to another, when one of them is sick, and this is being shown and the rise in cases that we’ve seen recently. Once again, getting vaccinated, to decrease the risk if you do become sick, is the best protection that you can provide to yourself and your family.” 

Eliminating roadblocks was key to getting the vaccine developed so quickly.

“This vaccine was developed very quickly by A, cutting through a lot of the red tape that’s usually involved in these processes and B, this product has been in development for some time, this technology, for several years, and it was redeployed to meet this particular virus. It was also used for the Ebola virus several years ago. By maintaining the same safety and efficacy studies that we’re usually seeing, but removing the time that is usually placed between those studies, we were able to develop this product rapidly to get it into the communities to decrease the risk to our citizens from this virus.” 

He says any side effects from the vaccine should last for a couple days.

“Side effects from the COVID vaccine are very similar to side effects from other vaccines, because they are traditionally associated with your body mounting that response to a virus or bacteria. For most patients, it’s going to be a sore arm, you might experience a mild fever, some tiredness. These are all signs that your body is revving up to fight what it believes is a real virus, so that if you do come in contact with the real thing one day, your body will be ready to go to defend yourself.” 

Malachowski says getting vaccinated is the best option for your community.

“At the end of the road, this vaccine is safe and it’s effective, especially when compared to the risk of hospitalization and death from the virus. It is one of the most well studied vaccines in history at this point, and you’d be joining hundreds of millions of your fellow community members in getting vaccinated. The intention is to keep people out of the hospital, and to keep people coming back for years to come to family gatherings and all the things that we know and love, and this is how we get through this pandemic. Please, for yourself, for your community, for your family get vaccinated, and go to for more information.” 

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