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Baptist Health doctor addresses COVID-19 vaccine myths, concerns

Only 56% of Floridians are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Only 56% of Floridians are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and as cases rise here on the First Coast, many myths and concerns are circulating that are causing vaccine hesitancy. 

“There is no scientific basis that would suggest that the COVID vaccines would lead to infertility," said Dr. Shalika Katugaha, an infectious disease specialist at Baptist Health.

Infertility is one of the COVID-19 vaccine myths Baptist Health infectious disease specialist Dr. Shalika Katugaha wants to clear up. 

She said another common concern is the shot isn't yet approved by the FDA, and we don't know the long-term effects. 

“It is emergency authorization at the moment," Katugaha said. "The larger side effects that you see typically happen within 30 to 45 days, so really these long-term side effects people are concerned about are extraordinarily unlikely.”

Many people are concerned about still catching the COVID-19 virus if they're vaccinated.

“Most vaccines out there are 95% or more efficacious, so your likelihood of getting COVID is so significantly lower if you get the vaccine," Katugaha said.

Katugaha said if you're vaccinated and catch the virus, you're not as likely to get sick or end up in the hospital. 

Another myth is the coronavirus pandemic isn't real or is overhyped. 

“It’s a very real pandemic. Any healthcare worker will tell you there have been millions who have died across the world, so please take this very seriously," Katugaha said.