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Misinformation plays big role in many COVID vaccine decisions, experts say

Medical experts continue to say that the best way to get information about the vaccine is to seek the advice of a trusted health care professional.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Health experts say misinformation and vaccine hesitancy have played the largest roles in people not getting vaccinated.

Doctors say it's important to think critically about where you are getting your information from, especially when it comes to the vaccine.

"We will not stop the Delta variant, we will not stop COVID until the world is vaccinated," said Center for Immunization Research Director and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Professor  Anna Durbin.

One reason people may be hesitant is the fact that there are breakthrough cases, which are COVID cases seen in vaccinated people, but doctors say vaccinated people tend to have much milder cases of the virus.

"The COVID vaccines continue to be shown to be highly, highly effective in preventing hospitalizations, severe infections and deaths among the vaccinated," said Durbin.

"These infections are for the most part, mild to moderate in severity. This means you may have a fever, feel achy, feel tired but you won't develop shortness of breath, need to go to the hospital or end up on a ventilator."

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Alongside misinformation, experts say the virus has become very politicized.

"The vaccines have been polarized by politics, and people are getting vaccinated, more people are getting vaccinated. Vaccine coverage continues to go up, but we also see a hardening of views, and that's really challenging because the role for information diminishes as people make up their minds. It's much more impactful to impact people's attitudes and beliefs as they're forming their intentions than it is to change their mind," said Director of the Institute for Vaccine Safety and Professor in the Department of International Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Dan Salmon, Ph.D.

Medical experts continue to say that the best way to get information about the vaccine, and whether it's recommended for you or not, is to seek the advice of a trusted health care provider.

"What we've seen throughout this pandemic is that politics have impacted our response, and many people are less trusting," said Salmon.

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