,New Jersey health care providers are becoming increasingly frustrated with the barrage of misinformation about the Covid-19 vaccine, which they say has put lives at risk. — AFP Relaxnews
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NEW JERSEY: Dr Marc Feingold, a primary care doctor in Manalapan, has been spending plenty of time with his patients in recent weeks trying to debunk misinformation about the Covid-19 vaccine, falsehoods heard everywhere from Facebook and the TV networks to New Jersey radio, including Bill Spadea’s popular New Jersey morning-drive talk show.
Does the vaccine cause infertility? (No.) Is it experimental? (No). Does it work? (Yes, it is highly effective in preventing serious illness and death.) And so on, Feingold responds to the false assertions, hoping he lands on a message that will convince the unvaccinated to get a shot.
“They always have questions, and they don’t know who to believe,” Feingold said. “They’re getting so much information from so many different sources. So (misinformation) is very, very common.”
New Jersey health care providers are becoming increasingly frustrated with the barrage of misinformation about the Covid-19 vaccine, which they say has put lives at risk. Spadea, with one of the largest megaphones in New Jersey, has called for outright defiance, urging listeners to skip the vaccine.
“Misinformation about the Covid-19 vaccine is a serious public health threat,” said Regina Foley, Hackensack Meridian's senior vice president integration/transformation who managed the vaccine rollout across the network. “The vaccines are safe and highly effective and our best shot at defeating this pandemic once and for all, saving lives and returning to normal.”
The message, however, isn’t universally taking hold.
Sticking with misinformation
Opinions about the vaccine have been split between political parties. A poll last month by Kaiser Family Foundation found counties that voted for Democrat President Joe Biden had a 46.7% vaccination rate, while counties that voted for Republican President Donald Trump had a 35% vaccination rate.
The trend is playing out at the Shore, a Republican stronghold. In Monmouth County, 53.5% of the total population is vaccinated. In Ocean County, only 43% of the population is vaccinated.
Both have lower vaccination rates than blue-state New Jersey, where more than 58% of the population is vaccinated, according to the CDC.
The tide may be changing.
In recent weeks, in the face of the surging delta variant, some Republican lawmakers and conservative commentators in major media outlets have shifted gears and begun to encourage people to get vaccines.
Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell recently bought radio ads in his home state of Kentucky to urge people to get vaccinated and “take advantage of this miracle”. And influential conservative Fox News commentator Sean Hannity recently told his viewers that it “absolutely makes sense for most Americans to get vaccinated”.