NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – After nearly a year of trying to explain the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine, Dr. Alex Jahangir says he’s not upset by people who still have questions.
“There are very valid reasons to have hesitancy about vaccines, and I think what’s important is we all need to chill out a little bit and have a little bit of patience and understanding for friends and neighbors that may be a little resistant to get the vaccine.”
As part of Metro’s Coronavirus Task Force, Dr. Jahangir believes vaccine hesitancy is often rooted in misinformation. It’s why the Medical Director of the Vanderbilt Center for Trauma was happy to answer the following questions from News 2 viewers.
Why should I trust a vaccine that’s so new?
Jahangir: “This vaccine technology has been in play for about a decade – What is amazing is when everyone puts all their brainpower and all their money behind solving a problem, it can bring this amazing vaccine to market so quickly.”
Were the trials rushed?
Jahangir: “More people were trailed for this vaccine than is typical for any other vaccine.”
According to Dr. Jahangir, a combined 120,000 people participated in the Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson trials, prior to the FDA granting emergency use authorization. He went to explain that normal vaccines will see around 10,000 participants.
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Are all potential side effects being reported?
Jahangir: “Stating that this is some conspiracy theory, that side effects aren’t being mentioned or bad outcomes aren’t being mentioned, is again another talking point for people who want to provide misinformation.”
You can check out the vaccine adverse event reporting system, known as VAERS, which monitors and reports potential issues.
Are doctors receiving money to ask people to get vaccinated?
Jahangir: “I can tell you, almost with certainty, that no doctor I know is getting paid for the vaccine. Doctors push hard, nurse practitioners push hard and PA’s push hard to get people vaccinated because they care about the health of their patients.
How do I know it’s truly safe for my child to receive a vaccine?
Jahangir: “I have three kids under the age of 12, and my wife and I have had these same conversations. Of course, people are always worried about what are the long-term implications of a vaccine, but what I can tell you is I’m personally more worried about the long-term implications of my kids getting COVID. Such as the inability to taste or smell and some of the fatigue and not having the ability to play like they used to – We have not seen or heard about any of that in the vaccine trials with kids.”
What about people that say they don’t want the government telling them that they must get a shot?
Jahangir: “Yea, I would agree. Listen to your health care providers. Listen to all these people that you’ve trusted for every other aspect of your life and get the information from them.”
Currently, fewer than half of Tennesseans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. News 2 takes you inside the debate with ‘Moving the Needle‘ special reports. Keep up with our continuing coverage on WKRN.com.