Doctor debunks vaccine misinformation circulating on social media
AUGUSTA, Ga. – Misinformation can be common on social media, especially when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine. Chief medical officer at AU Health, Dr. Phillip Coule, says the vaccine is safe, and he believes everyone who is eligible should get the shot.
One of the most widely spread myths is that the COVID-19 vaccine can only protect you from one strain of the virus, similar to the yearly flu shot, so it doesn’t offer significant protection.
But Dr. Coule says this is not the case, and the vaccine protects against multiple strains.
“Let’s say we only get 75% coverage against the new strain that emerges, 75% coverage is still far better than zero, which is what you have absent the vaccination,” Dr. Coule said.
Another commonly circulating misinformed theory, that it’s likely to have a severe reaction to the shot. Dr. Coule says the numbers tell the real story.
“We vaccinated somewhere around 26 million people or so, I think the number is even higher than that now, and if we assumed that those one or two cases that I certainly see circulating on Facebook right now are even related, that means you’re about 13 times more likely to get struck by lightning, than you are to have a major complication from a COVID vaccine,” Dr. Coule said.
He says even after receiving the vaccine, the community should still practice mask wearing and virus safety protocol.
“We do not need the new strains circulating in our area,” Dr. Coule said. “We really need to get the sustained transmission and the cases that we currently have in our community under control to prevent these strains from emerging in our area.”
He also says he is careful in drawing analogies between COVID-19 and influenza, because the two viruses are drastically different.