White House COVID advisors speak with WDAM about vaccine concerns

White House COVID advisors speak with WDAM about vaccine concerns

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - White House experts on COVID-19 are concerned that too many people in Mississippi are choosing not to get the vaccines.

And they’re going to local media to get their message out.

WDAM’s Steven Williams spoke with Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Cameron Webb Friday via Zoom and gave them some of your concerns about the vaccines.

Many people point out the number of COVID-19 cases in Mississippi has been plummeting anyway, so why bother to get a vaccine? We asked Fauci.

“We’ve seen the surges and downs before,” Fauci said. “Just because Mississippi has a low level now, we know from painful experience, like Michigan now and New York before, now they’re going through a resurgence. Bottom line, get vaccinated because you don’t know what will happen next.”

Webb agreed.

“This virus exploits our weaknesses, it finds the places that are not protected and that’s where it spreads,” Webb said. “If south Mississippi wants to be one of those places, that’s what’s going to happen.”

Some folks worry about unknown future side effects of the vaccines, perhaps years down the road.

“Over 90+ percent of the things that go bad occur 15 to 45 days after vaccination, so the FDA waits 60 days to give authorization,” Fauci said. “The chances of something beyond that are ‘vanishingly small.’”

Webb says your real worry about long-term effects should be COVID itself.

“We know that 25% have lingering symptoms nine months out,” Webb said. “The much greater risk to your long-term health is contracting COVID.”

We asked if any particular demographic groups are more likely to be vaccine-hesitant.

“We’ve seen some white evangelicals, conservatives, largely because of the politicization,” Webb said. “In communities of color, there’ve been historical injustices in the healthcare system, but some are vaccine curious who are willing if their questions are answered. That’s what we’re doing.”

Fauci says the blood-clotting issue with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine actually shows how safe the shots are. He says even if there is a link to the vaccine, that handful of cases would amount to fewer than one in a million.

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