MILWAUKEE - The COVID-19 pandemic has left nearly 3 million people dead worldwide, including more than 560,000 dead in the U.S.
To date, more than 840 million vaccine doses have been administered across the globe. Public health experts say, aside from the virus itself, another battle is being waged -- one against vaccine myths.
As COVID-19 devastates communities across continents, vaccines can help prevent serious illness or even death. Of those approved and in use, they have proven safe and effective.
However, as persistent as the pandemic continues to be, health experts say there is also a parallel battle against misinformation and disinformation surrounding the disease and the vaccines. Sometimes, they say, people make decisions based on emotions and not facts.
"Once we can control those emotions, then you can introduce those facts to help people get things straight," said Dr. Ajay Sethi with the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health.
Dr. Ajay Sethi
Sethi said it is important to understand that vaccines like Pfizer, Moderna and even Johnson & Johnson -- which was recently been pulled to look into possible side effects -- are still extremely safe and effective.
"We’ve now had people who have been vaccinated with all three of these vaccines that are available, for over a year in some cases," Sethi said. "And they’ve been widely used since December, worldwide."
It is true that those who had COVID-19 may have developed some immunity. The vaccine provides greater immunity, though, according to Sethi.
"There is some truth that you might have some immunity from previous infection," Sethi said. "You shouldn’t let that decide whether you get the vaccine, given the vaccine gives you better immunity than natural infection."
While some believe the science behind the vaccines was rushed, it has been in development and researched for decades -- some of the red tape was removed.
"It wasn’t rushed, per se, but it feels that way because we didn’t hear about these vaccines in development until COVID-19 hit us really hard. But once you do a little research, you realize the science has been going on for a really long time."
COVID-19 vaccine resources & more
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CLICK HERE to view the latest COVID-19 totals (updated daily at 2 p.m.) from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
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