Experts weigh in on common COVID-19 vaccine concerns


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ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Vaccine hesitancy continues to be a primary concern for doctors who are trying to reassure Americans that the vaccines are safe. Some worry about vaccine safety and side effects, but experts say there have been very few complications from the shots.

“Well, the vaccines now have been used in hundreds of millions of Americans. Such as sore arms, headaches are well known and last a day. You don’t feel great and you get over it,” Dr. John Moore, Weill Cornell Medicine professor, told 18 News.

According to a Quote Wizard Survey, more than 50 percent of respondents in both Pennsylvania and New York are concerned about potential vaccine side effects.

The results for New York are:

  • 58% are worried about side effects
  • 21% don’t believe they need it
  • 46% are waiting to see if it’s safe
  • 44% don’t trust COVID-19 vaccines
  • 28% don’t trust the government
  • 13% do not think COVID-19 is a threat

The results for Pennsylvania are:

  • 52% are worried about side effects
  • 29% don’t believe they need it
  • 28% are waiting to see if it’s safe
  • 45% don’t trust COVID-19 vaccines
  • 43% don’t trust the government
  • 24% do not think COVID-19 is a threat

18 News conducted an Instagram poll to understand more about vaccine worries among Twin Tiers residents. The results as of 5:45 p.m. on October 21 were as follows:

  • 41% are not concerned about side effects
  • 31% are waiting to see if it is safe
  • 58% trust the vaccines

Dr. Moore says the vaccine is comprised of nucleic acid surrounded by a ball of fats, and thus the components are safe.

“It is not something weird. It does not contain infectious material,” Dr. Moore added.

There are some concerns about allergic reactions to vaccines, but experts say those are only in specific cases and are rare.

The vaccines were developed quickly due to the urgency of the pandemic and the influx of vaccine trial participants. However, the mRNA technology has been around for the better part of a decade, according to Dr. Moore. For the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the technology has been around for even longer.

“It’s [the technology] been looked into and evaluated and used in other other infections,” Dr. Justin Nistico, infectious disease expert at Arnot Health, said.

When the vaccines were rolled out earlier this year, some Americans were concerned about their effect on pregnant women, due to the lack of clinical trial data on this demographic. According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the COVID vaccines are safe.

“If people are considering pregnancy, getting vaccinated is strongly encouraged,” Dr. Nistico continued. “When your child is born, they get antibodies as well.”

COVID-19 misinformation has spread quickly amid the pandemic, causing some to feel frustrated and discouraged about the vaccines.

“It’s a really weird feature of American life right now that that life-saving technologies that were initiated in the Trump Administration and rolled out under the Biden Administration should be accepted on a bipartisan basis,” Dr. Moore said.

Overall, Dr. Moore and Dr. Nistico agree that the vaccines are not a cure for the virus, rather they provide increased protection against severe disease, hospitalization and death.

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