COVID-19 Vaccine Talking Points for Faith-Based Leaders

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Caring for the community

It’s easy to feel helpless during these times. But, until you’re fully vaccinated, there are steps we can all take to help us stay healthy:

  • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth inside public places to help protect yourself and others. Even vaccinated people in areas of substantial or high spread of COVID-19 should wear a mask inside public places to maximize protection from the highly contagious Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others.
  • Keep at least 6 feet apart from other people who don’t live with you and who may not be vaccinated.
  • Avoid crowds.
  • Avoid poorly ventilated indoor spaces.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • Get vaccinated as soon as you can. You have three ways to find vaccines near you:
    •  Go to vaccines.gov
    • Text your ZIP code to 438829
    •  Call 1-800-232-0233

Our community is here to support you—emotionally, socially, and spiritually. Don’t hesitate to contact us. Also try to reach out to people who you know are lonely or who may feel isolated in their efforts to avoid getting the virus.

Remember to check on the elderly and other vulnerable members of our community. And, if you can help them, do so.

Vaccine readiness/confidence

Safety

  • The COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States meet the FDA’s rigorous standards for safety and effectiveness. Tens of millions of people in the United States have received COVID-19 vaccines, and all COVID vaccines will continue to be monitored for safety.
  • Serious health effects from vaccines are very rare. It’s highly unlikely that COVID-19 vaccines will cause long-term health problems. Also, there is no evidence at all that they will cause infertility or cancer.  
  • Your risk for serious health problems is much lower from the vaccine than your risk if you’re unvaccinated and get COVID-19. COVID-19 can leave you with heart and lung damage and other conditions that require long-term treatment. Vaccines are much safer paths to immunity than the disease itself.

Effectiveness

  • All available COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective against severe illness, hospitalization, and death due to COVID-19, including from the Delta variant.

    Remember, to get the most protection from the vaccines, you need all the recommended doses:
  • The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines require two initial doses.
  • Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine requires one initial dose.

If you meet the criteria for having a compromised immune system, you should get a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine at least 4 weeks after your second dose.

If you’ve been vaccinated, you may be eligible for a booster shot to keep up your protection. See the latest guidance on boosters.

Potential for vaccine breakthrough infections

  • It’s important to understand that infection doesn’t necessarily lead to illness. If you’re fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and the virus manages to enter your body and begins to multiply—that is, infect you—your immune system will be prepared to quickly recognize the virus and keep it from doing real damage. That’s why most people who get infected with COVID-19 despite being vaccinated—so-called breakthrough cases—have no symptoms (asymptomatic) or only mild-to-moderate illness.  
  • Nearly everyone in the United States who is getting severely ill, needing hospitalization, and dying from COVID-19 is unvaccinated.   
  • CDC recommends you get vaccinated as soon as you can.

COVID-19 vaccines can’t make you sick with COVID-19

None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that they can’t make you sick with COVID-19. Learn more at cdc.gov/coronavirus.

COVID-19 virus variants and vaccines

Scientists continue to study different forms, or variants, of the virus that causes COVID-19 to see if the vaccines will work against them. Current data suggest that the COVID-19 vaccines available for use in the United States offer protection against most variants, including the highly contagious Delta variant. For this reason, COVID-19 vaccines are an essential tool to protect people against COVID-19, including illness caused by the new variants. CDC will continue to monitor the impact these new variants may have on how well the vaccines work.

What if someone in our congregation tests positive for COVID-19?

  • Notify congregational leadership as soon as possible so they can coordinate with local health officials who are trained with the best practices to follow.
  • This may mean a temporary closure of the facilities so they can be cleaned and disinfected. We will follow norms to keep everyone safe.