SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — The first COVID vaccines have been available for nearly half a year. They are considered the best defense from infection and perhaps can even end the pandemic.
However, there’s one big obstacle standing in the way: vaccine hesitancy.
Places like The Clinics at Scranton Primary Health Care Center were hard-pressed to keep up with vaccine demand at the start.
But with demand declining, this facility is addressing vaccine hesitancy with the health of the community hanging in the balance.
The day finally arrived for Simone Creed to get her first shot of the Moderna vaccine.
“I was undecided for a while, but you know, after the whole changes and everything, I just went ahead and, you know, told myself go ahead. Get it,” said Creed.
She said her motivation to finally get it was just wanting to travel.
But many others are reluctant to get the COVID shot thereby delaying herd immunity because of vaccine hesitancy.
“Well, I think the best way we can overcome it is by education and encouraging people. There’s a lot of misinformation available on the internet and in various sources,” said CEO of The Clinics at Scranton Primary Health, Joe Hollander.
Hollander says it’s critical to debunk myths such as: “the COVID vaccine will affect your DNA,” or “cause infertility or miscarriages,” or “that we don’t know what’s in the vaccine.”
“People tend to read just the first line of an article and not go into depth, but certainly the vaccine has proven itself to be very safe and very effective,” stated Hollander
That’s evidenced by the sharp decline in COVID cases across the commonwealth the past couple of weeks.
“We have to be very careful. Our numbers are certainly down, but we were down this time of the year last year,” said Dr. Mirza, Chief Medical Officer of The Clinics at Scranton Primary Health Care Center.
Dr. Mirza says only time will tell if infections increase with less mitigation and by bringing together vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
The Clinics at Scranton Primary Health Care Center vows to continue its work to spread a pro-vaccine message for the sake and health of the community.
“Our staff have really just been a phenomenal group of rock stars working hard coming in early, staying late doing their best to educate patients, comfort them when they’re nervous and try to get them to agree to be vaccinated,” stated Hollander.
The Clinics at Scranton Primary Health Care Center has also vaccinated the homeless and offers COVID vaccinations by appointment or even walk-in.
Dr. Mirza says it’s important to use common sense in a crowded place, even if you are vaccinated. He recommends such precautions as mask-wearing until herd immunity is reached.