County COVID broadcast tackles misinformation

A healthcare worker draws a vaccine in this file photo. [File]
Marion County hosted a live-streaming question-and-answer event this week to provide information and combat inaccurate, misleading or false information about the COVID-19 vaccine.

For just over an hour, Marion County Commissioner Kathy Bryant, Florida Medical Association President Dr. Douglas Murphy, Jr. and local nurse practitioner Todd R. Panzer answered questions about the vaccine discussed the COVID-19 vaccine.  Additionally, the healthcare providers answered numerous questions about the vaccine and COVID-19 in general. They also worked to dispel misinformation about the virus and vaccine.

Bryant began the session by noting that 59% of Marion County residents are vaccinated, which is below the state average of 68%.  Further, the county is seeing 461 new COVID cases a day, and there are currently 300 COVID patients being seen in the county’s hospitals.  Of those 300 patients, Bryant said, 90% are unvaccinated. Panzer pointed out that of the 83 patients in Ocala’s ICUs 76 were unvaccinated.

Murphy said the latest surge in COVID patients is putting a strain the local resources and providers.

While elective surgeries continue, they are being delayed. The local emergency departments are also suffering, Panzer said

Murphy and Panzer explained that the current vaccines do not contain fetal cells, or have an effect on the receiver’s DNA, and they clarified the vaccine is not gene therapy, as it doesn’t touch the receiver’s DNA.

Murphy also said that some of the vaccinated people who enter the hospital are undervaccinated, having received one of the two required doses of the either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

They also reiterated throughout the session that the vaccine will not prevent someone from getting COVID, but it helps guard against hospitalization and serious illness.

Murphy, who is a practicing obstetrician and gynecologist, explained how pregnancy can weaken the immune system. He also dispelled the rumor that the vaccine may cause infertility.

He also said that an individual can choose not to get vaccinated as is their right, there are unintended consequences of that decision.  And those consequences include contracting the virus and then exposing other people.

They also reiterated that the vaccine cannot give someone COVID, as there is no virus in the vaccine.

Murphy said the COVID-19 vaccines use similar technology to other vaccines like HPV, Hepatitis B and some childhood vaccinations.

The booster shot was also discussed during the event.  The providers explained the booster doses available now are reserved for immunocompromised patients, while one should be available for general use around the first of the year.  They also pointed out the importance of receiving the booster from the same manufacturer someone received their initial vaccine from.

Murphy said that while COVID has become “a political football,” the virus is apolitical.

“The virus doesn’t care if you’re a Republican, Democrat or Independent,” he said.

The video has been viewed almost eight thousand times as of Sept 1, including about 200 people who watched the feed live.

Posted in Health, News

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