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Worried about getting the COVID-19 vaccine? A Shreveport health director addresses people’s main concerns

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SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Medical experts cannot stress enough the vital and scientific importance of everyone in the world getting vaccinated against the coronavirus. It’s the only way to stop the virus from replicating in human bodies. But polls show many Americans are still worried about getting vaccinated. The Director of Health Services at Willis-Knighton wants to address concerns.

“You have to ask why someone may be vaccine hesitant. In some cases, they are vaccine hesitant because they have either incomplete information or misinformation about safety issues related to the vaccine,” said Dr. Joseph Bocchini, Director of Willis-Knighton Children’s Health Services.

If you’re worried about how fast the COVID-19 vaccines were developed, Dr. Bocchini said that was the point. It was a historic, unprecedented collaboration between government and private companies to prevent further deaths.

“Even though we did this as quickly as we did it was because everybody cooperated from the manufactures to the regulators to the FDA to all the agencies that need to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a vaccine. They all worked together to make this happen as quickly as it did. Therefore we took no shortcuts in safety evaluations to produce these vaccines. We know these vaccines are safe and effective,” Bocchini said.

If you think it’s a for-profit scheme, remember the vaccine is free, at the expense of the federal government, thus tax payers.

“So this has been a remarkable effort by the federal government and pharmaceutical manufacturers, the vaccine manufacturers, to produce what was needed to control this pandemic. Saying this is for profit is an error. This is a humanitarian effort to immunize the United States and across the world to control and eliminate this pandemic,” Bocchini said.

If you’re waiting to see how it affects everyone else, the data is in.

“Well now we’ve had millions of people vaccinated and we haven’t learned any other side effects than the common ones we know that happened with any vaccine. So if people are concerned about safety I think it’s very clear we have vaccines producing a strong record of safety,” Bocchini said.

If you worried about side effects from the vaccine he said the disease of COVID-19 is absolutely worse for both patients and health care staff.

“The risk of COVID-19 versus the benefit of the vaccine versus any local side effects, fever or other symptoms that you may have for 24 to 48 hours. It’s much safer to get the vaccine than risk exposure to COVID-19,” Bocchini said.

If you’re not vaccinated, your body is a open breeding ground for the virus to grow and mutate inside you. Studies show the current three vaccines will protect you from the three known variants spreading in the United States.

“Unfortunately those variants will continue to undergo mutations if they involve more people in the United States who have not been vaccinated. So sooner or later there might be a mutation that makes them resistant to the immune response of the vaccine. So one of our jobs if to minimize the number of people infected before they get vaccinated,” Bocchini said.

Dr. Bocchini encourages people to talk with their friends and family about going to their vaccines before we see a fourth variant emerge. Remember vaccines are old science The first vaccine was developed 1796 by Edward Jenner for smallpox.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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