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Local doctors discuss common pandemic misconceptions

The NWA Council held a panel where local doctors and healthcare professionals discussed common misconceptions with COVID-19 and the vaccine.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — After more than a year into the pandemic, there are still questions and misinformation continues to spread on the internet. 

On Thursday, Oct. 28, local healthcare experts spent time clearing up misconceptions and constant misinformation about both the vaccine and coronavirus, the NWA Council hosted a panel discussion with local health experts. 

The doctors on the panel say much of the misinformation out there thrive on fear, so it’s important to look to trusted sources, instead of hearsay that isn’t always fact-checked or supported by research.

“We don’t make decisions based on one study. For that reason it takes a lot of very smart people to dig into this information and come to the best conclusions," said Dr. Marti Sharkey, Fayetteville's City Health Officer. "And it’s all trying to get through this as healthy as possible. So looking at the CDC, the FDA, the world health organization, is really what we’ve got to rely on.”

Another claim involves infertility and stillbirths as a result of getting the vaccine. Earlier this year the medical journal “The Lancet” published research that showed stillbirths increased during the pandemic. This was before the vaccines were available and many were speculating that the vaccine could cause infertility.

Researchers determined the majority of those stillbirths or ectopic pregnancies were the result of a lack of medical care due to overwhelmed hospitals. Doctors reassure that the vaccine is safe and harmless to unborn children.

 “We were talking about this before the panel, but the oral polio vaccine we used to give you and still do in some vaccines we actually give you the virus. It’s an inactive virus but you’re still getting infected," Dr. Sharkey said. Then we move to the harmless adno virus carriers. So they carry the protein you want to make an antibody response to. But to get it in there we have to give you this adno virus which is harmless.”

While there was a focus on possible negative effects there is one positive to look forward to.

 Doctors also shared that the holidays are looking promising and people may be able to gather again especially with vaccine rates increasing.

The doctors repeated throughout the meeting that it’s important to look to trusted sources of information because social media is not the best source of scientific information.

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