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Some S.C. residents still skeptical of COVID vaccine despite full FDA authorization

Published: Aug. 23, 2021 at 8:46 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - DHEC Director Dr. Edward Simmer says full FDA approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is further proof the shot is safe and effective.

“Anyone who has remained hesitant about the vaccines should use this full approval as motivation to get the two-dose Pfizer vaccine as soon as possible,” Dr. Simmer wrote in a statement.

However, for some South Carolinians, this continued effort to convince people to get vaccinated is another example of the government trying to push the shot onto wary citizens rather than letting them come to it on their own.

“I kind of feel like the federal government is acting like a used car salesman,” said Jeff Holmes.

Holmes has not been vaccinated against COVID-19 and said he wants to see more data and proof it is safe before getting it.

“Obviously COVID is real. COVID is a thing. I feel like there needs to be time before they just start pushing things like the vaccine into your body,” Holmes said.

Hilton Head resident David Cook said he wants to see three to four years of data before getting the COVID-19 vaccine. On the same day as the FDA granted full approval to the Pfizer shot, Cook said he was looking to get a form exempting him from vaccine requirements because of religious reasons.

“The more information I dig for and look for, the more reasons I find to wait and see,” he said.

Holmes said he has relatives who are vaccinated and his brother is a healthcare worker, but even if they were to urge him to get the shot he would refuse.

Doctors say FDA approval and the millions of Americans who have received the Pfizer vaccine are proof the vaccine has stood up against the high safety and efficacy standards.

“I think it’s almost comforting to know the experts have looked into this, evaluated this from the best perspective for everyone, and came out of it saying, ‘yes we approve this vaccine,’” Dr. Jennifer Grier with the University of South Carolina School of Medicine said.

31% of unvaccinated Americans say they are more likely to get the vaccine if it’s fully FDA approved- According to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

In South Carolina, 10,314 people have died from COVID-19, according to DHEC.

Of those, 10,237 of them weren’t fully vaccinated. Therefore, there’s a 0.0039% chance of dying from COVID-19 in South Carolina among the fully vaccinated and we don’t know how many of those people had a comorbidity.

Cook also noted that according to the CDC, almost 7,000 people who received the vaccine later died.

However, the CDC explains this data point on their website by saying no researchers have drawn a correlation between the vaccine and the cause of death.

“FDA requires healthcare providers to report any death after COVID-19 vaccination to VAERS, even if it’s unclear whether the vaccine was the cause. Reports of adverse events to VAERS following vaccination, including deaths, do not necessarily mean that a vaccine caused a health problem,” the CDC states on their website.

Dr. Grier has a more simple argument for getting the vaccine: everything carries some risk but the risk of COVID is higher than the risk of the shot.

“The risk of getting vaccinated is very very low and the risk of getting COVID is huge and there are things we don’t even know about the risk of long-term infection,” she said.

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