The Conway Regional Health System hosted a COVID-19 vaccine Q&A on its Facebook page on Dec. 27, answering common questions about the new COVID-19 vaccine with Dr. Alex Freeman of Freeman Family Medicine in Conway.

Freeman tried to give the public more confidence and increase willingness to take the vaccine by describing how effective the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are.

“In terms of the efficacy, [the numbers] have been great,” Freeman said. “[Both vaccines] have been shown to be 94 to 95 percent effective.”

He added that even those who contract the coronavirus after receiving a vaccine have been shown to have much fewer complications.

Another concern of the public has been potential side effects from taking the vaccine. Freeman spoke to assuage those fears too by mentioning the most common side effects after being vaccinated.

“[The vaccine] has shown to be safe,” Freeman said. “There have been side effects, [but] you would expect that with [any vaccine].”

The most common side effects, Freeman said, include fatigue, headache, arm pain and fever in small amounts of people.

“The biggest side effect I see though, is not getting COVID-19 and not getting severe complications if you do get [the virus],” Freeman said.

Freeman also touched on the speed at which the vaccines have been created. While some doubt the safety and efficacy of such a quickly produced vaccine, having been finished in 10 months, Freeman said the vaccine type that was used to create the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, mRNA, has been used for 7 years, going all the way back to a flu vaccine in 2013.

“[mRNA vaccines] have been used for [more than] seven years in trials,” Freeman said. “And it has been safe. There’s not been any severe complications from mRNA vaccines prior to [the present].”

Freeman is so confident in the vaccines available that he was already scheduled to get one himself.

“I can’t wait to get [the vaccine],” Freeman said. “I told everybody I’d be first in line if they’d let me. [The vaccine] is what will get us back to normal.”

Staff Writer Kolton Rutherford can be reached at krutherford@thecabin.net.

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