I have fielded many concerns from area residents about the safety and effectiveness of the three COVID-19 vaccines currently available to Hoosiers as I have toured Senate District 42 over the last several weeks.

To address those concerns and ensure area residents have confidence in their overall well-being, I recently met with Indiana Department of Health (IDOH) Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box.

According to Dr. Box and the IDOH, all three vaccines available in Indiana have been studied extensively by experts. These vaccines are highly successful and are 99 percent effective at preventing severe illness and death.

To date, people who are fully vaccinated have a one in 50,394 chance of being hospitalized, while those who aren’t vaccinated have a one in 525 chance of being hospitalized.

A serious reaction to any of the three vaccines is rare, but when a reaction does occur, it is reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System and studied by medical experts. Dr. Box has said this is how the rare-but-serious issue with blood clots forming in patients with low platelets from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was discovered. It is important to keep in mind that this adverse reaction is incredibly rare compared to the risk of getting COVID-19.

For those who receive the J&J vaccine, the risk of getting blood clots is one per every million for men of all ages and women 50 and older, and seven per every million for women ages 18-49. However, the risk of getting blood clots from a COVID-19 infection is a little more than a one in 10 chance.

It is important to note that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have not shown any increased risk of clotting.

As a retired nurse and now active member on the Senate Committee on Health and Provider Services, I understand the hesitation in getting the vaccine; however, it is imperative that you consider the science.

Dr. Box confirms that of the three vaccines being offered, none of them will change your DNA. There is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines cause problems with fertility or trying to get pregnant. The vaccines don’t contain a microchip or any other sort of device. The vaccine doesn’t give you COVID-19, and you won’t test positive for COVID-19 on a viral test.

The vaccine provides protection even if you’ve had COVID-19. The odds of getting COVID-19 again increases with time as natural immunity decreases. Variant viruses, such as the B.1.17 variant, have been reported in Indiana, and being vaccinated can help reduce the chance of infection from a COVID-19 variant strain.

I respect that some may have moral objections to receiving the vaccine, but I ask you to consider the impact that may have on your health and that of your loved ones. My husband and I are confident in the science that has been provided, and we received our vaccines earlier this year.

Should you have any continued concerns or questions about COVID-19 or the vaccines, please contact the Indiana Department of Health or go online to ourshot.in.gov to learn more.