January 18 2021 – After ten months of wrestling with the global COVID-19 pandemic and seeing infections continue to rage in the U.S., there is finally reason for optimism as distribution of vaccines begins. While the initial supply prioritizes vaccination of patient-facing healthcare workers and seniors, the national goal is to vaccinate everyone as supplies increase in the weeks and months ahead. 
Broward Health North’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Keith Foster and CEO Alice Taylor
While there has been very high demand for the vaccine, particularly among seniors, some Floridians continue to voice concern about the vaccine’s safety and whether they should take it. This comes despite assurances that both the Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are 95% effective and have proved to be safe and effective according to preliminary data from clinical trials.
Stopping the COVID-19 pandemic is a global priority. Imagine how different life would be without the polio vaccine, which protects our children from a highly contagious virus that causes paralysis. Tetanus, smallpox, diphtheria, measles and a long list of other potentially fatal viruses have been obliterated by vaccines, just as COVID-19 must be. 
For anyone who questions whether it is necessary to get the vaccine, here are the top five reasons why you should when you become eligible: 
1.The vaccines developed by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna are the work of trusted researchers and scientists who have been working around-the-clock to develop the vaccines with a more than 95% efficacy rate. 
2.The vaccines were cleared and approved for administration under the Emergency Use Authorization Act, under which the known and potential benefits of the vaccine must outweigh the known and potential risks. 
3.The vaccines have been carefully evaluated in clinical trials that prove they are safe and effective, and the vaccines cannot give you the virus. 
4.According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, experts believe the vaccine might help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do contract COVID-19.
5.These vaccines utilize a technology known as mRNA that introduces a genetic code the body can use to make its own viral protein to induce an immune response. While side effects may include pain and swelling in your arm, fever, chills or headache, these are normal signs that your body is building protection to the virus. 
“Vaccinations are a critical component to protect our community and reduce the spread of the virus,” said Keith Foster, M.D., Broward Health North’s chief medical officer. “If you refuse the vaccine and contract the virus, you place at risk the lives of your family members, coworkers and everyone else with whom you come in contact.” 
Stopping a deadly pandemic requires using all the tools we have available. Although the vaccine is a massive step forward in the fight against COVID-19, it remains necessary to continue following the CDC’s guidelines and practice social distancing, wear a mask and wash your hands often throughout the day. 
“The combination of the vaccine and ongoing safety measures should help us turn the tide on COVID-19,” said Dr. Foster. “It will take time to get the community fully-vaccinated and reach herd immunity, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit