Why and Where, Revisited (and Boosters)

Jakub Tolar, MD, PhD, Campus Public Health Officer
August 19, 2021
I’m young and healthy, why should I get vaccinated? In the United States, we have a long history of helping each other. If a river is flooding, everyone in the community comes to pile sandbags on the riverbank against the rising water. However, if one neighbor doesn’t sandbag their stretch of riverbank, despite the efforts made by others, everyone gets flooded through the gap.

Vaccination is the same kind of community effort. We participate to keep ourselves and each other safe. It may be our right to make a personal health decision, but the decision to not get vaccinated does affect other people—health care providers, children too young to be vaccinated, and medically vulnerable people in particular. If we are not protecting each other, we are putting each other at risk.

Why get vaccinated if you can still get sick? We know that being vaccinated does not eliminate the chance of getting COVID-19, especially the delta variant, but it does help keep people out of hospital beds and the ICU. When hospital beds fill up, it sets in motion events that no one wants: cancer surgeries delayed, accident victims unable to access intensive care, and already exhausted health care workers pushed closer to the brink.

If I’m vaccinated, why do I have to wear a mask now? If it helps, this is kind of like asking, “Cars have seatbelts, why do we need airbags?” Because they reduce the risk of injury in two different ways. Properly worn masks and vaccines reduce the risk of infection in different ways. Combine them and reduce the risk even further.
Do I need a booster shot? According to the CDC today, for maximum protection (probably) yes.* People whose immune systems are moderately to severely compromised can receive a third dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines now. Others who received these vaccines will be able to get a booster eight months after their second shot starting as soon as Sept. 20. It is anticipated that a booster for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be recommended as well, but those vaccinations started later and the CDC is still reviewing the data. *Please see this link for the fine print.

Can I get the vaccine if I have an impaired immune system, autoimmune disorder, or other underlying health condition? Probably yes! See the CDC guidelines here and/or talk to your physician.

Where can I Get the Vax? List of public vaccination clinics.
  • Crookston: University of Minnesota Crookston - Wellness Center Court 1 on Thursday, Sept. 2, from 1-3 p.m. Use Chrome browser to register for an appointment. See website for alternatives.
  • Duluth: UMD Health Resources and other alternatives, see website.
  • Morris: See website for local vaccination sites.
  • Rochester: Olmsted Medical Center, call 507-292-7300 for an appointment or see website. Mayo Clinic also provides weekly walk-in vaccine clinics. Call 507-284-2511 for information on upcoming dates and times.
  • Twin Cities:  Boynton Health will offer the Moderna vaccine to all U of M employees and students on Thursday, Sept. 9, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the President's Room, third floor of Coffman Memorial Union. (Note: This is not a booster shot clinic). Register here
Previous messages are here.

Corrections: The list of WHO-approved vaccines should have included Sinovac.

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