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Infectious disease specialist discusses vaccine hesitancy

Posted at 9:55 AM, May 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-16 09:55:48-04

Recent decisions by the Centers for Disease Control and Food and Drug Administration are providing hope the U.S. is turning the corner when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This past week, the FDA approved the Pfizer vaccine for 12-15 year olds, while the CDC announced people who are fully vaccinated no longer need to wear masks.

Doctors are warning, though, Americans are not out of the woods. Less than half of Americans are currently fully vaccinated and to reach herd immunity that number needs to be around 70%.

"Vaccine hesitancy, in some way, is a uniquely American phenomenon," Dr. David Dodson told WPTV's Michael Williams on To The Point. "Most of the world is hungering for the vaccine."

Infectious disease specialist discusses vaccine hesitancy

The infectious disease doctor says the reasons for vaccine hesitancy include worry about the vaccine's effectiveness, side effects and fear. As for the claim the vaccine causes fertility issues, Dr. Dodson says there is no proof that is true.

"How on earth can anybody know for a vaccine that has been around for 6 months? How could we know it could make people infertile? It is impossible to know that," said Dr. Dodson.

He also rebuffed a myth the vaccine changes a person's DNA.

Political round table with Mary Anna Mancuso and Brian Crowley

"The vaccines are just a little piece of MRNA that stimulate your body to make antibodies, so it is not a whole virus, it's not DNA, it's not going to be inserted DNA so its medically impossible to alter your DNA," said Dr. Dodson.

The FDA's decision to allow teenagers to receive the Pfizer vaccine will help the U.S. reach herd immunity because children make up 20% of the population. Dr. Dodson said another way to reach heard immunity is to reach out to people who are unsure of getting the vaccine right now.

"It is going to require community leaders going into their communities almost going door to door, neighbor to neighbor to find out why people are hesitant." said Dr. Dodson.

The infectious disease doctor says when he talks to someone who is on the fence, he tells them to look at the future.

"If we don't eliminate this virus then we are going to be dealing with a low-grade chronic illness for many many years," said Dr. Dodson.

Closing comments with Mary Anna Mancuso and Brian Crowley

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