Though reports on social media and some media outlets continue to spread misinformation concerning the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines, based on Onslow County experience, the vaccine poses very little risk.
Since the county started its vaccine program in December, more than 35,000 have had the shots..
“There has not been any immediate reaction severe enough to require EMS transportation,” said Kristen Richmond-Hoover, public health director with the Onslow County Health Department.
Information from a recent Congressional Hearing indicates that there continues to be pushback to the U.S. effort to vaccinate as many people as possible in an effort to curb the corona virus pandemic.
In a March 6 article, the BBC reported that U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle has urged Facebook, Twitter and Google to ban a dozen people he claims are spreading the vast majority of disinformation about COVID vaccinations.
The Center for Countering Digital Hate analyzed more than 812,000 Facebook and Twitter vaccine-related posts and found that 65 percent of anti-vaccine posts came from what it called the “disinformation dozen,” according to the BBC. Anti-vaccine activists reach more than 59 million people.
Bloomberg Businessweek, in an April 1 article, described an effort to discredit the vaccine. Groups circulated false information that the vaccine would cause sterilization in young women.
By February, more than 30,000 pregnant women had signed up for a U.S. government-monitoring program after getting COVID shots, and so far no problems have been reported, according to the article. “More recent studies have found the vaccines are not only effective on pregnant women, but they also pass antibodies on to their newborns.”
“Speaking only for the Onslow County Health Department’s COVID vaccine doses, about 35,000 total, there has not been any immediate reaction severe enough to require EMS transportation to the hospital for treatment,” Richmond-Hoover said on Thursday, April 1. “We have EMS staff embedded in our vaccine clinics who observe recipients after receiving the vaccine for 15-30 minutes, as determined by the recipient’s history of a severe reaction.”
Citizens receiving the shot are asked to wait at the site for about 20 minutes so county staff can watch for any reactions.
“Should a severe reaction occur, these emergency medical professionals are immediately available to treat and transport to the hospital for further care as appropriate,” Richmond-Hoover said. “Onslow County COVID-19 vaccine clinics have patient safety as a top priority.”
Onslow County’s experience is not uncommon, based on studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (See related articles.)
Onslow County started administering the vaccines on Dec. 22, according to Richmond-Hoover.
“This was the very day that we received our first vaccine inventory,” she said. “I can add that Onslow Memorial Hospital received inventory the week before we received our first inventory, so I believe that they likely administered the first vaccines in Onslow County to healthcare workers on their team.”
The county has administered both Moderna and Pfizer, depending on which brand has been allocated by the state, according to Richmond-Hoover.
“We hope to soon receive and be able to have an offering of J&J,” she added. The Johnson and Johnson brand requires a single shot for full effectiveness. Moderna and Pfizer brands require two shots.
Glenn Hargett, assistant county manager, said the county is now taking vaccination appointments for anyone 16 and older.
“Fewer appointments were being requested, and there is a sufficient supply of vaccines for Onslow County,” he said in an email on Thursday, April 1.
Onslow County is able to administer the COVID-19 vaccinations to persons as young as 16 because the county has the Pfizer brand, which can be administered to young adults.
Call the Onslow County Citizens Phone Bank at (910) 989-5027 to register to receive the vaccine.
Email Jimmy Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more on this story purchase a copy of the April 7, 2021, Tideland News.