Health experts fear spread of COVID Vaccine misinformation

Coronavirus

Birmingham, Ala. (WIAT) — A recent Facebook post claiming an Alabama nurse had died from the COVID-19 vaccine has many health experts outraged.

The post was debunked by the Alabama Department of Public Health, stating the post was a rumor and spread of misinformation.

Jefferson County Health Officer Dr. David Hicks says post like those can be harmful when it comes to people getting the vaccine, which is why he warns people to be careful what they read and share on social media.

“The spread of it is extremely dangerous. Especially when this is our only real shot of getting out of this pandemic,” Hicks said.

Dr. Hicks says he has seen all kinds of inaccurate theories online about the vaccine.

“That if you get the vaccine, it can cause COVID-19. So, it’s you can get COVID-19 from the vaccine. That’s a complete myth,” Hicks said.

Other health experts like Dr. Celeste Reese Willis hear those theories in person daily.

“Oh, if I get a vaccine, it means I don’t have to wear a mask anymore. No. That is absolutely not true,” Willis said.

Willis believes the spread of misinformation can be damaging to more than just medical professionals.

“Actually, it’s putting peoples’ lives in danger and causing them to take risks that actually put us as a whole in the community more at risk for COVID,” Willis said.

Hicks says he saw the post the ADPH shared on Wednesday. He admits the post looked legitimate, which he believes is even more cause for concern.

“So, if somebody posted something..you say ‘prove it. Show me the facts.’ And if they can’t prove it to you, then don’t spread it,” Hicks said.

When it comes to facts about vaccines in general, Hicks says the CDC, state and local health departments have the most accurate information.

“We are going to investigate. Look into things. When we say it, we’ve done our homework and we can put out there that we can back up everything,” Hicks said.

Experts believe if majority of the population get the vaccine, the pandemic will be over.

“It’s going to take leaders in the community. It’s going to take people having an open mind and being able to listen to true, accurate and good information,” Willis said.

Hicks says the county health department plans to put more information about the vaccine online so the public has a better understanding.


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