By Andrea Alvarez

SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – As lines for a COVID-19 vaccine continue to decrease across Tampa Bay, making the wait time more convenient, health officials are taking a closer look at reasons others still aren’t showing up at all.

“We have seen these anti-vaccine voices become very organized and more and more sophisticated and receiving stronger financial support,” said Manuel Gordillo, MD, Medical Director, Sarasota Memorial Hospital Infection Prevention and Control.

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As COVID-19 vaccine supplies become more readily available Sarasota health officials are dispelling certain concerns and alleged myths surrounding the vaccine. Medical director for Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s infection prevention and control doctor Manuel Gordillo is working to dispel what he says are common rumors and concerns that seem to play a part with those declining the vaccine.

“We sometimes under sell this vaccine. We look at the downsides of the vaccine and ‘what if’,” said Dr. Gordillo.

The first and perhaps most common concern is long term side effects.

“If you look at all the vaccines [created for] Small Pox to Measles and so forth, the side effects from vaccines occur within the first 6 weeks,” said Dr. Gordillo. He tells me the FDA requires all the vaccine manufacturers to show proof of safety up to eight weeks.

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And for those concerned that it was just developed too quickly…

“We’re used to this slow vaccine development from years past. We should not be following that model. That is a broken model. This is what we should all strive for in the future,” said Dr. Gordillo. Among many factors that he says went into developing this vaccine in such little time was the amount of cases to test it on. An abundance he says scientists don’t normally have access to, and so it was time to get to work.

One so-called myth he’s looking to dispel is that the vaccine could cause infertility or issues  for pregnant or breastfeeding women.

“There’s a variety of reasons where this is a classic example of misinformation,” said Dr. Gordillo. “Through millions of cases, now, the vaccinations of women, there is no attack. We don’t see miscarriages. That’s one thing that this doesn’t produce.” And he says that technology played a major role in this one. “This particular piece of information was shared on social media about… more than 1.4 billion times in a few weeks.”

Speaking of tech concerns, of a microchip being placed into our DNA have also emerged.

“Physically, it would be impossible to put that in a vaccine. We haven’t created such a technology yet,” said Dr. Gordillo. “We have a very safe vaccine and it’s extraordinarily effective.”

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For more information from Sarasota Memorial Hospital on those concerns, Click Here.