KANAWHA COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – With the recent news of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause, misinformation about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines are surged on social media.
While there’s some good news from the Center of Disease Control this week that the average number of new U.S. cases has plateaued at about 67,000 per week, the challenge now is upping the numbers of those receiving vaccinations.
It’s not just the misinformation that health leaders have to address.
“The more we vaccinate, the less there are to vaccinate. We can’t vaccinate those 16 and younger because we don’t have that indication,” said Kanawha-Charleston Health Department health officer Dr. Sherri Young.
As of April 18, the CDC says just over 34.5% of West Virginians have received at least one shot. Just under 27% have received both. Those vaccinated are on par with neighboring Kentucky and Ohio. As of April 18, Kentucky had reported 28% and Ohio reported 27%.
Still, some remain skeptical about the vaccine due to misinformation on the web or word of mouth.
“One of the biggest vaccine hesitancies we saw in the beginning was that the vaccines were rushed to market and that they weren’t being watched,” Young explained, “But if we can detect six adverse cases out of 7,000,000 – they are watching. So if anything, what happened with Johnson and Johnson should make people feel better about the ways the vaccine is being monitored.”
There are hopes the FDA will approve of the use of the Pfizer vaccine for children as young as 12 in the coming weeks. But until then, those who are eligible are urged to do their part to stop the spread.
“With knowing that people may be gathering in increased places, unless they’re vaccinated and we know that its safe and we keep that social distancing, it could turn into a bad thing.”