When your opportunity comes to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, take it. That’s the message from nearly 100 doctors with the Guelph Family Health Team who signed an open letter to the community.
“It’s to protect yourself and protect others,” said Ross Kirkconnell, the health team’s executive director, explaining the letter was recommended by the team’s patient and family council that suggested people want to know what their family doctor thinks about the vaccine.
“We thought the best way to do it was to just put it out there. … The doctors, as a group, said ‘Please get your vaccine’
“Hopefully our community will feel a bit more confident in getting vaccinated by knowing that the family doctors … totally believe in the vaccine for their patients and are looking forward to getting the vaccine themselves.”
People have incorporated wearing masks, washing their hands and social distancing into the general culture, he said, adding it’s time for people to “get their heads around” taking the vaccine when their turn comes in the priority rankings.
“I think there are a lot of questions still people have around the vaccine,” he added, pointing specifically to social media posts he’s seen.
“If everyone gets vaccinated, we will be able to come out the other side and have a much more normal life again … return to some sense of normalcy.”
The letter, dated Feb. 18, is signed by 98 doctors who are members of the family health team, as well as Kirkconnell.
For a full list of the doctors who signed the letter, click here.
Here’s the letter in full:
Dear Guelph and Area Residents,
Thank you for everything you are doing to protect yourself and others from getting COVID-19.
Vaccine is coming very soon! Over the next few weeks, you will be hearing more specific details about our local vaccination plan as we continue our work with Public Health and other community partners to develop the plan.
We are writing at this time to ask that when it is your turn, we encourage and urge everyone to please get vaccinated, SAY YES! Making sure you get vaccinated helps to save your life and protect the lives of others.
We understand you may have questions about the vaccine. We believe the vaccines are very safe: we all plan to get vaccinated ourselves! As with all vaccines, people may experience side effects after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. These are normal signs that your body is building protection. The most common side effects are pain at the injection site, fever, and chills. These side effects tend to be mild to moderate and go away on their own within 1–2 days.
If you would like more information about vaccine, we recommend the following websites:
canada.ca/en [click on Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Vaccines]
covid-19.ontario.ca [click on Learn about vaccines]
wdgpublichealth.ca [click on COVID-19 Vaccines in WDG]
Finally, just a reminder - COVID-19 vaccines are one important tool to help stop the pandemic. But in the meantime and even after vaccination, everyone needs to continue following all the current guidance to protect themselves and others, including wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet away from other people and washing your hands thoroughly and often.
Thank you again for all you are doing to stay safe.
On behalf of our staff, we the doctors of the Guelph Family Health Team thank you.