Your Vaccination Questions Answered: Starkville doctor debunks COVID-19 vaccine misinformation

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – As Mississippi’s COVID-19 cases continue to rise, the state’s vaccination rate remains low.

“More people are getting it,” says Dr. Emily Landrum of the Family Clinic in Starkville. “I had a patient who was hospitalized about three weeks ago, who passed away over the weekend. Was not vaccinated. Was only in their 40s.”

Only 34.2 percent of Mississippi’s population is fully vaccinated, per the Mayo Clinic. That’s the second-lowest in the country.

“What we’re seeing are high numbers of people who have not been vaccinated, including those who have had COVID previously, as the primary people who are getting COVID.”

OCH Regional Medical Center currently has five COVID-19 inpatients, their highest total since February. Of those five, four are in the ICU, which once again has no available beds.

Dr. Landrum, who is a board member of the Mississippi Academy of Family Physicians, has been publishing weekly videos to her Facebook page in an effort to counteract all the misinformation about COVID-19 and the vaccines that she believes is causing some people not to get the shot.

So WCBI sat down with Dr. Landrum to have her debunk the most popular myths surrounding the shots:

Weren’t the vaccines were rushed into production?

“The mRNA vaccines, which are what the Pfizer and Madonna are, have been under research for 10-plus years looking at that vaccine technology,” Dr. Landrum says.

What about possible side effects?

“The incidence of severe or significant side effects though is extremely rare,” Dr. Landrum says. “And we have not seen with the mRNA vaccines any serious adverse effects that have been connected directly to those vaccines.”

Does someone who already got COVID-19 need the vaccine?

“With Delta being the predominant strain that we are seeing, people who have had COVID, last year, 2020, your antibodies are not going to match the Delta variant,” Dr. Landrum says.

What about herd immunity?

“In order for us to get to herd immunity with natural infection, especially natural infection from the Delta variant, a lot more people would have to get it and a lot more people would have to die as a result,” Dr. Landrum says.

Isn’t the decision to get vaccinated a personal choice?

“(Yes but) those decisions could impact others,” she says. “If you’re hanging out with a group of people, one person that’s positive could get a whole group of 10 people sick. And then they go home to their families and get their entire family sick.”

Dr. Landrum says anyone with questions about vaccination should consult with their doctor but reiterates that the risks of the shots well outway the long-term impact of contracting the virus.

“That’s our best chance at reaching herd immunity and really decreasing the transmission of COVID, to a point that we don’t have as many hospitalizations, and as many deaths as what we saw last year,” she says. “We’ve got to get the vaccine numbers up.”

Dr. Landrum also says that as hospitals fill up, the healthcare workforce has gotten smaller over the last several months, meaning fewer people to take care of COVID patients.

For answers to more questions surrounding COVID-19, go to Dr. Landrum’s Facebook page.

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