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More work needs to be done to encourage confidence in the COVID-19 vaccine: Surgeon General

Anjalee Khemlani
·Senior Reporter
·2 min read
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A new poll this week gave health experts some hope as 71% of Americans said they would be willing to take a COVID-19 vaccine.

But U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said more work needs to be done to encourage confidence in the vaccine and ensure greater uptake once it’s widely available — especially as the anti-vaccine movement continues to spread false information.

“My message is that it's okay to have questions. It's not okay, it is absolutely not okay, to let misinformation and to let people spreading misinformation, rule your life and cause you to make bad choices,” Adams told Yahoo Finance.

Nurse Christine Philips, left, administers the Pfizer vaccine to Vera Leip, 88, a resident of John Knox Village, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020, in Pompano Beach, Fla. Nursing home residents and health care workers in Florida began receiving the Pfizer vaccine this week. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)
Nurse Christine Philips, left, administers the Pfizer vaccine to Vera Leip, 88, a resident of John Knox Village, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020, in Pompano Beach, Fla. Nursing home residents and health care workers in Florida began receiving the Pfizer vaccine this week. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

Adam addressed myths about vaccines causing autism, as well as new concerns about the novel coronavirus vaccine causing Bell’s palsy, a temporary weakness or paralysis in the face.

“I do want people to know, it has been unequivocally proven that vaccines do not cause autism. When you hear about Bell's palsy, the incidence of Bell's palsy in the vaccinated group in the U.K. was the same as the incidence in the regular public. So it's not like this vaccine has any any indication that it's going to cause any safety problems for anyone except for people who have a history of severe allergic reactions. And that's the case for any vaccine,” he said.

It’s why he and other officials are willing to take the vaccine publicly, though Adams noted that it’s important to wait until high-risk people get vaccinated, especially as supplies are low.

“Every person who gets the vaccine who's not in a high risk group is potentially (taking away from) a person who is in a high risk group who can't get it. So we're thinking very carefully, very intentionally about the risk benefit ratio of getting certain people vaccinated out of their turn,” Adams said.

In the interim, the role of lower-risk people waiting for a vaccine is crucial, Adams said, particularly during the holiday season.

“In the first surge, it was really about flattening the curve, so that we didn't overwhelm our health-care system. The second curve was about getting through the summer, and really trying to save lives. This third surge, we now have a finish line in sight,” Adams said.

“And we need to keep washing our hands, wearing masks, watching distances. And particularly during the holiday season, keeping gatherings small ... with the knowledge that once ... loved ones can get a vaccine, we can have huge gatherings next year,” Adams said.

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