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Experts Say Fast-Tracking Vaccine Doesn’t Mean It’s Less Safe

A close-up of a syringe containing a Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine as it is given to a patient at Cardiff and Vale Therapy Centre on December 8, 2020 in Cardiff, Wales. Wales joined the other UK nations in rolling out the covid-19 vaccine on Tuesday, a rare moment of coordination after months of disjointedness in the four nations' pandemic response. Wales introduced a 17-day "firebreak" lockdown in October and November to suppress the surge in covid-19 cases, but infections have continued to rise. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Shipment of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine could be on its way to Utah this week, and state leaders said teachers will now be among the first to receive it.

However, not all Utahns plan to get vaccinated.

Health officials said local hospitals have been preparing for months to administer a COVID-19 vaccine. While some said this the hope they’ve been waiting for, others are hesitant.

Some are concerned about the quick process in developing the COVID-19 vaccine, though that doesn’t necessarily make it less safe.

Science Magazine’s Dr. Meredith Wadman, based in Washington, D.C., said it’s important to think about the big picture.

“Hundreds of millions of lives have been saved by vaccines, immunizing children around the world against infectious diseases,” she said. “There’s just no arguing with that if you look at the numbers and how those infectious diseases have fallen off in the years since these vaccines were developed.”

Take, for example, the unprecedented rubella epidemic in the 60s in the U.S.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 12.5 million people contracted it, 11,000 pregnant women lost their babies, 2,100 newborns died, and 20,000 babies were born blind, deaf or with mental disabilities – all because there was no vaccine.

Rubella was eliminated from the country in 2004 thanks to the vaccine.

The largest caution to consider when debating whether to get vaccinated is if you’re pregnant.

Pregnant women were not part of the vaccine trials. Wadman said women should consult with their doctors to determine whether they should get vaccinated.

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