Vaccine hesitancy persists in Arkansas
Doctors from across the region answered questions about the pandemic during a panel on Thursday.
Why it matters: Arkansas still struggles with vaccine hesitancy, and that could cause more spikes in COVID-19 infections.
- About 34% of Arkansans 12 and older remain unvaccinated, according to the Arkansas Department of Health.
- It’s about the same rate in NWA.
What they’re saying: “The biggest challenge is there’s this misconception, this crazy notion that we’re going to be able to just hang back and wait this thing out. That is not going to be the case,” said Daniel Young, a local infectious disease specialist.
Doctors also stressed that pregnant people — or people hoping to become pregnant — should not wait to get vaccinated.
- The vaccine will not hurt your fertility or increase the likelihood of miscarriage, said David Deschamps, a doctor specializing in maternal and fetal medicine.
- Getting vaccinated also helps protect babies against the virus because they are born with antibodies.
What’s next: An FDA panel endorsed the Pfizer vaccine for kids ages 5-11 this week, and it could head to the CDC for consideration as early as next week.
- “We could potentially have a lot of kids fully vaccinated by Christmas and grandparents with their boosters. We could have normal holidays. We can all get together and hug each other,” said Martha Sharkey, pediatrician and Fayetteville public health officer.
- Sharkey urged parents with questions to consult their pediatricians.
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