Video: Dr. Naomh Gallagher explains vaccines are safe and effective way of protecting individuals and entire communities
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Dr. Naomh Gallagher, Research and Development Programme Manager at the PHA, has encouraged people to get the jab when their time comes, reassuring them that it is safe and effective.
"Vaccinations are the most effective way to protect yourself against infectious disease. Not only do they protect individuals but they also protect communities. Vaccination reduces transmission of infectious disease therefore protecting those individuals who for whatever reason cannot receive the vaccination themselves," she said.
Dr. Gallagher pointed out how vaccines have been used for centuries and have been deployed against a wide range of infectious diseases including smallpox, polio, measles and flu.
"Vaccines have saved many millions of lives," she said.
The Pfizer/BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines that are now being used across the north have gone through thorough testing and approvals before being licensed for use, she added.
"This process includes large scale clinical trials which in the case of the COVID-19 vaccines included tens of thousands of individuals. Furthermore there are robust systems in place to continue to monitor the safety of vaccines even after deployment.
"Like any medicine, vaccines can cause some side effects such as redness at the injection site however serious side effects are very rare and although the COVID-19 vaccines have been developed in a very short time period none of the important safety or regulatory steps have been skipped," said Dr. Gallagher.