‘That is a myth:’ Medical experts reject COVID-19 vaccine myths, misinformation

Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 7:03 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A Grand Strand doctor said he’s seeing a dramatic drop in the number of people rushing to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

This comes at a time when less than half of the South Carolina population is fully vaccinated.

DHEC reports, about 40% of Palmetto State residents have received all their doses.

For months, medical experts have expressed frustrations about ways to overcome vaccine hesitancy.

Conway Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Paul Richardson said misinformation continuing to circulate on social media and by word of mouth could be contributing to some of the hesitations.

Richardson said CMC staff have seen no evidence to support some of the conspiracy theories that are discouraging some people from rolling up their sleeves.

“I’ve seen things about inducing metal into peoples’ bodies,” Richardson said. “What I can say to that, I can’t speak to those claims. Other than to say, here at Conway Medical Center, the thousands of doses, we haven’t seen that.”

Michelle King, the corporate director of Infection Prevention for McLeod Regional Medical Center said she also heard of misinformation spreading about the vaccine.

“You will not get microchipped when you take the vaccine,” King said. “That is a myth. It’s not going to affect your fertility, that’s also a myth.”

King wants to make it clear to anyone who’s heard the myths, the vaccine is safe.

“There are some side effects of the vaccine,” King said. “That’s just letting you know your body is making a good immune response.”

Some additional claims Richardson addressed were about whether or not the vaccine is harmful to your health.

He acknowledged some people in the country have experienced significant side effects. But he said that is not the case for our area.

Looking at the facts, Richardson said locally, he hasn’t seen any extreme side effects cases from residents who took the doses.

“Not to say it can’t happen,” Richardson said. “Any time we give millions of anything, something is going to happen by chance. But we have seen an extremely good safety record with these vaccines. Again, anything can happen but very, very rare. In order for us to get to the finish line, we need people who are on the fence, I want to reach out to them and tell them to look at the science of it and don’t get caught up in some of the social media hype.”

“If you don’t get the vaccine for yourself, get the vaccine for the other people you love,” King said. “We don’t have Polio anymore because of the vaccine. We rarely have a case of measles because of vaccines. All of these things we put in place to prevent infection around the world have made a big difference and this vaccine is no different from those.”

Some people who were adamantly against taking the shots have now gotten their spot in the vaccine line.

Back in February, Lazette Williams was living in Florence County. At that time, she was 100% against the vaccine.

She questioned whether the doses were safe for her body and wanted more information about the long-term effects.

But now, Williams said she’s fully vaccinated.

After learning people at her job tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this year, she decided to roll up her sleeve.

But she said her initial concerns about the doses haven’t changed.

“But because I was in an environment where I would more than likely be exposed, I went ahead and took it,” Williams said.

Although some will likely end up changing their minds and get the vaccine, Williams said some people with concerns like her may linger on the fence a bit longer.

“They’re just not going to take it because they’re not going to trust it,” said Williams. “Try to establish some kind of trust. Talk more about what’s in the vaccine.”

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