Local health expert breaks down COVID vaccine misinformation

Published: Sep. 7, 2021 at 7:52 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - There is positive news in the fight against COVID-19.

Experts with Augusta University Health tell us it’s possible we’ve seen our peak in cases during the latest COVID surge, and we could start to see a drop in hospitalizations.

It’s similar to what we saw before the delta variant became so dominant. And with another new variant on the rise, there are new concerns. But doctors say your best shot at protection is still the vaccine.

There is no crystal ball for scientists to predict the future of the pandemic. But one way they can get an idea is by looking at the past.

“History sort of tells us this could very well happen again because it continues to happen over the course of the pandemic,” said Dr. Julie Hirschhorn, director of molecular pathology at the Medical University of South Carolina.

The future is up to each individual.

“I know that there’s hesitation and that there are reasons that people don’t want to get vaccinated and so in those cases, you can still protect the people around you by masking and social distancing but really the only way we dig out of this is by getting a point where we can control the virus,” she said.

Each new infection gives the chance for mutation. There are a lot of real fears and Hirschhorn says she understands, but she is part of the science.

“That’s just my love for everyone around me makes me do what I do, and I really would love for people to understand. I hear you I get it, it’s fine if you don’t want to do it but I want you to know that it’s safe,” she said.

Compared to newer experimental COVID treatments mRNA technology has been around since the late 1980s, early 1990s according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. The first SARS outbreak was in 2003 in Asia. Scientists, researchers, and epidemiologists all have had decades studying both the virus and the technology to create a safe vaccine.

“But the benefit to the RNA is that it can be easily manipulated in a pharmacological setting in a laboratory to be developed quickly to address certain mutations come up and so it’s a really eloquently designed vaccine that kind of lends itself really nicely to the pandemic situation that we’re in right now because the vaccine itself is really malleable,” she said.

And Hirschhorn says the mRNA does not do anything to your DNA and only sticks around in your body for a few days which is less than the COVID infection itself. So the side effects you may experience will be early on not long-term.

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