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Experts answer your questions about COVID vaccines

A panel of experts covered topics including vaccine access, equity, hesitancy, and education,...
A panel of experts covered topics including vaccine access, equity, hesitancy, and education, especially as it relates to rural and underserved communities. That panel ranged from experts in the medical field, a faith-based leader, and a minority health advocate. But the questions from viewers focused more on their personal medical concerns.(WBRC)
Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 6:06 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - WBRC hosted a townhall discussion Wednesday morning answering your questions about the COVID-19 vaccines.

A panel of experts covered topics including vaccine access, equity, hesitancy, and education, especially as it relates to rural and underserved communities.

That panel ranged from experts in the medical field, a faith-based leader, and a minority health advocate.

But the questions from viewers focused more on their personal medical concerns.

Questions about COVID vaccines are pivoting from what they do to how they will impact people personally.

One viewer asked about vaccine safety in those who have undergone chemotherapy and radiation.

“You should go ahead and get the vaccine because it will work some, but if you’re on significant chemotherapy, I would talk with your oncologist, and frankly, my advice would be celebrate the fact that you’ve got some protection, but if you’re going out in a large crowd, I’d still recommend wearing a mask,” UAB Infectious Disease Expert, Dr. Michael Saag.

Viewers who are fully vaccinated, but immunocompromised asked how they can protect themselves from others who aren’t vaccinated or masking.

“If it’s a crowded room and the vaccination rates of the people in that crowd are unknown, I’m carrying my mask with me. So, the more co-morbidities you have, especially if some of them lead to immune compromise…you know… have that mask at the ready in a large crowd,” said Dr. John Waits with Cahaba Medical Care.

Vaccine confidence remains an issue in Alabama, but experts said communities where people can talk to others they trust have seen the biggest success with vaccine uptake.

“I was one of those that said I’m not going to get this vaccine. And once I educated myself, I became an advocate and recruited other advocates in other communities. They were people that other people trusted and that’s why we’ve seen an increase and we’ve still got a lot of work ahead of us, but we certainly are seeing an improvement,” said Karen Jones with the COVID-19 Education and Equity Project.

Doctors said that one-on-one conversation between a trusted primary care provider can also be very powerful.

They said it’s not a question of vaccine or no vaccine, but a question of what’s the benefit of getting vaccinated, versus the risk of getting covid.

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