BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - UAB is now starting to administer second doses of the covid-19 vaccine to it’s employees.
UAB Hospital has administered 10, 846 doses of the first round of the COVID-19 vaccine, but doctors know some people are still hesitant to get the vaccine.
“Vaccine hesitancy is really strong with this vaccine,” UAB epidemiologist Dr. Rachael Lee said. “It is because of the myth that the data and the research behind these vaccines was rushed and its not safe. That is completely incorrect.”
Officials with UAB hospital said out of the 10,846 first round vaccines they’ve administered, a little more than 6,000 went to UAB employees.
“About 50% of them have accepted the invitation immediately,” UAB Hospital CEO Anthony Patterson said. “Then, there are many others who have stated that they intend to be vaccinated, but they are not ready yet to receive it.”
Patterson said about 4% of the hospital staff have declined to be vaccinated at all.
Dr. Lee said she knows there are concerns surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine, but she said it was safely developed.
“Even though it was fast, all of the way in which we created the vaccine, research was done on the vaccine and because we had help from the community of people who wanted to be a part of the vaccine studies, that is how it was able to be as quick as it was,” she said.
But, it’s not just the timeline of the vaccine development that worries some.
“I think the second thing I hear from people is ‘oh it’s going to be really bad and we are going to have terrible side effects’,” Dr. Lee said.
Dr. Lee is one of the first UAB employees to be fully vaccinated and she said after her first dose, symptoms were mild.
“I had a sore arm of course, but that essentially was my only symptom,” Lee said. “Maybe a little bit of fatigue that lasted 12 hours and that is it.”
Dr. Lee said another reason she thinks some people may have chosen not to be vaccinated yet was because of the holiday season. She said she thinks we may see a large uptick of people deciding to get vaccinated in the near future now that the holidays are over.
“I think if we can work to busting these myths, I think people will be more likely to take the vaccine,” Lee said.
The Alabama Department of Public Health said the state is still actively in phase 1A of the state’s distribution plan, but they are now expanding it to those 75 years or older.
Call this number, 1-855-566-5333, if you are 75 years or older and want to get the vaccine.
Telephone calls are answered from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. seven days a week.