Doctors face COVID-19 vaccine rumors head on as vaccine hesitancy remains high

Local News

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD)– Despite the surge in COVID-19 cases, local health leaders have still dealt with vaccine hesitancy.

Ochsner Health faced COVID-19 vaccine rumors head on and dispelled some of the myths floating around communities.

“Our positivity rates in general for COVID-19 are the highest  since last March at 20.6 percent and one month ago we were only at 6.4 percent, so that’s a huge increase almost three times,” said Ochsner Health Medical Director of Infection Control and Prevention Dr. Katherine Baumgarten. 

This message hits home with Ochsner, as only 63 percent of their employees are vaccinated.

“It is one of the reasons why we feel it’s really important to talk about misinformation and talk about the safety of the vaccine,” she said.

Fears about the COVID-19 shot also made their way among young and pregnant women.

“It does not increase women’s risk of fertility. It does not increase women’s risk of miscarraige of birth defects or any bad pregnancy outcomes, “ said Ochsner Baptist Maternal Fetal Medicine Fellow Dr. Jane Martin.

Children zero to 19  have gotten hit the hardest during this fourth surge.

“This week we are seeing almost 22 percent COVID positivity rates in all children 19 and under,” said Dr. Baumgarten

Ochsner Neurologist Dr. Erin Biro said she wanted all kids to get to the finish line of this pandemic,so her 4 year old, 6 year old and 14 month old are participating in the pfizer trial.

“What led us to our comfort level with putting all 3 of our kids through trial was that vaccines have a tremendous history and track record of safety, that being all other vaccines and we believe the COVID-19 vaccine provided the same safety date,” she explained,

She said there’s a two percent chance of developing inflammation called myocarditis after  getting COVID-19 in comparison to a fraction of that with the vaccine 

Ochsner said they have seen a jump in vaccination over the last two weeks, but they hope this information leads others to follow.

Doctors encouraged those who have questions or concerns about the vaccine to talk directly to medical professionals.

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