COVID-19 Vaccine Talking Points for Faith-Based Leaders

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Caring for the community

The risk that COVID poses is going down for most people in the United States—thanks, in large part, to widespread vaccination.

Get your COVID vaccine as soon as you can and stay up to date with your vaccines. Vaccines offer you the best protection from COVID.

You have three ways to find vaccines near you:

  •  Go to vaccines.gov
  • Text your ZIP code to 438829
  •  Call 1-800-232-0233

To protect yourself and your loved ones, both vaccinated and unvaccinated people should wear a well-fitting mask over your nose and mouth inside public places when the COVID risk to your community is high.

If you’re at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID, you can also protect yourself by:

  • Keeping at least 6 feet away from people who don’t live with you.
  • Avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces.
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if you don’t have soap and water.

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 at preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death due to COVID-19.

To get the most protection from the vaccines, you need all the recommended doses for people your age.

If you’re vaccinated, you should get an updated vaccine to help protect against Omicron.

Get your updated vaccine now if your last dose was before September 2022 (October 2022 for kids 6 months – 11 years).

Otherwise, wait until 2 months after you complete your primary vaccination series to get your updated vaccine dose. Completing your primary vaccination series means you got your first 2 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Novavax vaccine, or your 1 dose of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.

If you recently had COVID, you should wait 3 months from when you got sick to get your updated vaccine.

Children 6 months – 4 years who got all 3 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech primary vaccination series don’t need an updated vaccine at this time.

Novavax offers a booster dose of its COVID vaccine, but it doesn’t target Omicron. People 18 and older can get the extra Novavax dose if they’ve completed their primary vaccination series.

Potential for vaccine breakthrough infections

  • It’s important to understand that infection doesn’t necessarily lead to illness. If you’re up to date with your COVID vaccines 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 will work to keep it from doing real harm. 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. COVID-19 vaccines continue to be highly effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death due to the variants spreading in the United States. 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.