More than 1 million San Diego County residents still have not been vaccinated and, according to doctors and medical experts, much of the reasoning behind their decision to stay unvaccinated could be based on misinformation.
“Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misinformation out there and just Googling vaccine, you’re going to get all sorts of stories on Facebook and so really try to talk to an expert,” said Dr. Marlene Millen, a professor of medicine and Chief Medical Information Officer for Ambulatory with UC San Diego Health.
Dr. Millen encourages people to talk with their doctors and communicate their reasoning for not getting vaccinated.
“Going to people that you trust and you think that they know what they’re talking about, that’s what’s important. Hearing a rumor, and not backing it up, that’s just going to perpetuate a worry that isn’t founded, said Dr. Millen.
NBC 7’s Mari Payton spoke to three Black leaders about how centuries of distrust in the government plays into coronavirus vaccine acceptance among Blacks.
But still many people remain skeptical.
“I just feel like it was rushed,” said a Ramona resident who did not want to be vaccinated. “I feel like we’re all guinea pigs right now. I think — I don’t want to get sick, sick, and we don’t know what the repercussions are going to be in the future. Like what’s going to happen a year, two years from now?”
Her opinion is one of several given most in a survey conducted in April by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
For those still on the fence about the vaccination — called the ‘wait and see’ group in the survey — many people want to wait until more people have gotten the shot.
Others are concerned about safety and side effects, and say the vaccine is too new and there isn’t enough research.
“They are very well researched, said Dr. Millen. “These vaccines are not just something that someone threw together. The reason they came out so quickly is we already had the technology. We were ready to go.”
COVID-19 Vaccination in Your State and County
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports daily numbers on the percent of people fully vaccinated based on a person’s county of residence.
The survey also showed many people are worried they may need to miss work if they get sick. Or, they wonder if the vaccine could have a negative impact on fertility.
But the survey also showed the number of people in the ‘wait and see’ category is steadily declining.
Patrick Justet of Ramona said he was hesitant because he felt there wasn’t enough research on the effects the vaccination could have on your body. But, he decided to get the shot after a family member contracted COVID.
“My wife and I held out for as long as we could, but when our family member got really sick, and we had a couple of other family members get the shot, we decided to get the shot,” said Justet.
As of Tuesday, 69.3% of eligible San Diego County residents have received at least a first dose of the vaccination. About 54.6% are fully vaccinated.