AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – The FDA approved one COVID vaccine last week, and is set to approve a second this week.
NewsChannel 6’s Kim Vickers sat down with Dr. Jose Vazquez, Chief of Infectious Disease at Augusta University Medical Center, to dispel some internet myths about the vaccine.
Social media rumors about side effects and the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines have run rampant for months. Now that the vaccine has arrived in the C.S.R.A., Dr. Vazquez is setting the record straight.
“My opinion is that it is safe to take the vaccine. I’ll be one of the first ones here at AU to take the vaccine,” said Dr. Vazquez.
With more than 200 COVID patients hospitalized in Richmond County alone, the vaccine is more important than ever.
But many are refusing the vaccine, citing rumors they’ve seen online. The biggest one? They created it too fast.
But, Dr. Vazquez said scientists used the same building blocks they have used with other vaccines—it wasn’t started from scratch. Plus there was no red tape to cut through.
“So, the other reason that it went through so quickly, is because everything COVID gets pushed to the front of the line. So, because of that, the FDA was also evaluating in real time and the drug companies were evaluating in real time, as the subjects were enrolled in the study, getting evaluated. And so everything was real time data instead of waiting until the end of the study, accumulating the data, and taking a look at the data later on,” he explained.
Another fear that people have? They will get COVID-19 if they take the vaccine. Dr. Vazquez is firm on this one.
“It is impossible to acquire COVID from the vaccine.”
One more myth being spread, is that people who participated in the trials have had severe side effects.
Dr. Vazquez told me that only 7 in 35,000 test subject experienced severe side effects. Two from the U.K had allergic reactions. Both of those subjects already had many allergies. They both carried epi-pens. The other five developed Bell’s Palsy. Four of the five no longer have it.
For everyone else that experienced them, side effects were minimal.
“And the side effects are basically our own body’s immune system making the antibodies and making those cells. And by side effects, we’re talking about pain at the injection site, fever, fatigue, malaise, even aches and pains. Almost like a little flu type syndrome,” Dr. Vazquez said. “So that’s not unexpected. As a matter of fact, if you have those side effects, that means your body’s immune system has reacted to the vaccine and you are making antibodies. That’s a great reaction to have.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Health, believes if enough people are vaccinated, the United States could achieve herd immunity by March or April of 2021.
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