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COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Patient Handout

Learn more about COVID-19 vaccine safety. Practicing clinicians are invited to log into and download the PDF and share with their patients.

Written by Kruti Vora, Stuart M. Caplen, and Rich Strongwater

The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the world over the last 1.5 years, infecting at least 183 million people and claiming 4 million lives.

As of June 5, over 897 million people worldwide have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with corresponding decreases in COVID cases seen. However, despite having the option to be protected from COVID-19, as of March 2021 one in four United States residents have refused to take the COVID-19 vaccine, for reasons that include: trusting their own immune system to protect them, prior COVID-19 infection, perception that they are at lower risk of contracting a serious COVID-19 infection, and fear of long-term side effects from the vaccine.[1] In this handout, we hope to address these concerns, emphasizing why COVID-19 vaccines are safe and necessary for everyone, offering major benefits to ensure patients’ health with minimal risk of side effects.

Other Questions and Answers in the Handout:

  • What are the COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States?

  • How do these vaccines work?

  • When did the COVID-19 vaccines start getting developed?

  • What safety checks did the vaccines undergo during development?

  • Why should I get a COVID-19 vaccine?


Download the PDF Patient Handout

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COVID-19 Vaccine Safety- FibonacciMD- June 17, 2021 Updated: July 1, 2021


Kruti Vora, M.D.

Dr. Vora attended Harvard Medical School and has started her internship in the Department of Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. Her interests are in medical oncology, advocating for health equity, mentorship, and medical education.


[1] Thompson D. Millions Are Saying No to the Vaccines. What Are They Thinking? The Atlantic, May 3, 2021. Retrieved from:

[2] Understanding mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, March 4, 2021. Retrieved from:

[3] COVID-19 Vaccines. Oxford Vaccine Group, March 3, 2021. Retrieved from:

[4] Corum J and Zimmer C. How the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Works. The New York Times, May 7, 2021. Retrieved from:

[5] Garde D. The story of mRNA: How a once-dismissed idea became a leading technology in the Covid vaccine race. The Boston Globe. Nov. 10, 2020. Retrieved from:

[6] Timeline of the COVID-19 Vaccine Development. BJC HealthCare, January 14, 2021. Retrieved from:

[7] Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine Authorized by U.S. FDA For Emergency Use – First Single-Shot Vaccine in Fight Against Global Pandemic. Johnson & Johnson, February 27, 2021. Retrieved from:

[8] Lovelace B. Moderna Applies for Full FDA Approval of its COVID Vaccine. CNBC, June 1, 2021. Retrieved from:

[9] Vaccine Testing and Approval Process. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, May 1, 2014. Retrieved from:

[10] Myocarditis and Pericarditis Following mRNA COVID-19 Vaccination. CDC. Updated June 23, 2021. Retrieved from:

[11] Caplen S. Long-Term Sequelae of COVID-19 Infections. FibonacciCME. June 3,2021. Retrieved from:

[12] Selected Adverse Events Reported after COVID-19 Vaccination. CDC. Updated June 30, 2021. Retrieved from:

[13] Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions. U.S. Food & Drug Administration, May 10, 2021. Retrieved from:

[14] Katella K. Comparing the COVID-19 Vaccines: How Are They Different? Yale Medicine, June 23, 2021. Retrieved from:

[15] Allergic Reactions Including Anaphylaxis After Receipt of the First Dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine — United States, December 14–23, 2020, CDC, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, January 15, 2021 / 70(2);46–51. Retrieved from:

[16] Allergic Reactions Including Anaphylaxis After Receipt of the First Dose of Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine — United States, December 21, 2020–January 10, 2021, CDC, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, January 29, 2021 / 70(4);125–129. Retrieved from:

[17] Zimmer C et al. Coronavirus Vaccine Tracker, The New York Times,Updated April 20, 2021. Retrieved from:

[18] Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers, Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine to Prevent Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Individuals 18 Years of Age and Older. Food and Drug Administration, April 23 2021. Retrieved from:

[19] Anderson M. CDC Finds More Blood Clot Cases After J&J Vaccinations. Becker’s Hospital Review, May 12 2021. Retrieved from:




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