Health officials dispel misinformation as they prep for COVID-19 vaccine distribution

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- As the first doses of the vaccine get prepped for distribution across California, local health officials are trying to dispel any misinformation.

In less than 24 hours, the first batch of the Pfizer vaccine will be delivered to Fresno County.

While this move signals a shift in the fight against the coronavirus, the quick FDA authorization has left some Americans concerned.

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"We have a lot of good information about its safety and its efficacy," said Dr. Rais Vohra, interim health officer for the Fresno County Department of Public Health.

In a study conducted by Societal Experts Action Network, nearly two-thirds of those surveyed said they would get the vaccine if it is more than 90% effective or after it's been on the market for a few months.

Fifty-one percent of Americans said they would consider getting a first generation vaccine as soon as it becomes available.

"The way to get through this is to listen to the science," Vohra said.

According to the FDA, the Pfizer vaccine went through a three-stage clinical process to test its effectiveness and safety.

The trials did not result in severe side effects, but two of the first people to receive the vaccine developed allergic reactions.

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Dr. Vohra says 44,000 people took part in trials of the vaccine, which Pfizer says is 95% effective in preventing infections.

"You are not going to be the first in the world to get this. There has been a lot of other great people, in my opinion, that have been enrolled in these trials," he said.

In Fresno County, healthcare workers and nursing home residents will be the first to get the vaccine.

Local health officials say it could take six to eight months before there's enough manufactured for the general public.

Fresno City Councilwoman Esmeralda Soria is still recovering from COVID-19. She urges residents to get the vaccine as soon as possible.

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"By the time that it is available to everyone, we will have had enough time to see that the vaccine is very effective and protecting everyone," Soria said.

Dr. Vohra says the Department of Public Health will be working closely with the Fresno Madera Medical Society to promote the importance of the vaccine.

At the moment, they're working on getting these messages out to different communities in multiple languages.
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