Here we are again, masking up indoors, 18 months after this pandemic began. Until more neighbors and friends get vaccinated, we will continue this revolving door of rules, risks and a return to some version of pandemic life. I spoke with a doctor friend of mine and together we wanted to address some of the questions those who choose not to get vaccinated have and reasons why they’re hesitant.

1. It all happened too fast and not enough research has been done: while this is the first time mRNA technology (what is used in Pfizer and Moderna vaccines) is being put into action, it has been studied for decades. The data is out there and is safe and effective. 99 percent of current Covid 19 hospitalizations and deaths are unvaccinated.

2. I’m Catholic and don’t want to take a vaccine using aborted fetal cells: The Johnson and Johnson vaccine does not use aborted fetal tissue, in fact none of them do. The J&J did use fetal cell lines in their research phase and the Moderna/Pfizer vaccines used fetal cell lines to test efficacy. What’s the difference? The fetal cell lines originally came from kidney cells that were harvested in the 1970’s and are now thousands of generations removed from the original tissue. Pope Francis has given his public support to all three of these vaccines.

3. I don’t trust the government telling me what to do: all the government did was green light the federal funds to speed up the process to produce and distribute the vaccines. Scientists developed and created them and they were rigorously tested and studied. They are considered as safe and effective as antibiotics or the flu shot.

4. What about Myocarditis?: while a very tiny number of adolescents (usually boys and typically after the 2nd dose) have experienced myocarditis, or slight heart inflammation, the condition is treatable and temporary. Research is still being done but the CDC continues to recommends the vaccine as the benefit of being Covid-free far outweighs the risk of myocarditis. [Side note: my boys all got the vaccine and they’re fine.]

5. I’m in this country illegally and the vaccine means I’ll be deported: getting the vaccine does not affect immigration status. No one at any clinic will ask for proof of citizenship. No microchip is injected with the vaccine.

6. I like Trump and his behavior leads me to believe he doesn’t think the vaccine is good: Trump has been vaccinated.

The bottom line is this: those who are unvaccinated are now the potential and available hosts for not just Covid 19 but its more contagious variants. This affects all of us, even those who are vaccinated because while extremely affective, the variants can break through, the pandemic cycle will continue and more unnecessary deaths will occur. If you haven’t yet received the vaccine, I hope you will consider doing so. Not just for the benefit of yourself, your loved ones and your community at large but also as an act of good will toward protecting those who can not receive the vaccine. The immunocompromised and children under 12 are relying on everyone to help keep them safe. So let’s all hate the virus and band together to get rid of it once and for all! We can do it!