SAN LUIS OBISPO – Following the recent release of two COVID-19 vaccines, health officials in San Luis Obispo County are warning against spreading misinformation on the Internet. District officials remind the community to look for reliable sources of information.

With so many people looking for answers, misinformation spreads easily and quickly, said Dr. Penny Borenstein, district health officer. I encourage anyone seeking answers to questions about vaccines to pay close attention to where this information comes from and always consult credible sources first. While the Internet is a useful tool for researching health-related topics, it is not a substitute for talking to a health professional or health care provider.

The 6 biggest COVID-19 myths found on the internet:

Fiction: At the end you have some vaccine left to collect.

Fact: The remaining doses will not be given to people who show up at the end of the day without an appointment and wait for the vaccine. Finally, the district’s immunization clinics may have some additional doses of vaccine available because they did not show up or because there are doses left over from open vials. Although rare, there is a process to ensure that vaccines are not wasted. To avoid waste, excess doses at the end of the day are quickly and efficiently administered to clinic staff, available first responders or emergency responders, or are transferred to another vaccination site pending the arrival of other doses. In any case, the entrances will not be vaccinated by the end of the day.

Fiction: If you have an appointment and do not qualify, you will still receive the vaccine.

Fact: The staff at the vaccination clinic will politely refuse you if you make an appointment but are not eligible for the vaccine at that time. Since only a limited number of vaccines are available, the District first vaccinates those who are most at risk of contracting the disease and who experience serious health consequences. Visit RecoverSLO.org/vaccine to find out who is currently eligible for SLO County. Remember, vaccines are only available by appointment to those who are eligible.

Fiction: A medical certificate will get you an appointment faster.

Fact: Due to a statewide vaccine shortage, vaccination coverage in SLO County is currently based on risk of infection and age. Basic health requirements do not play a role at this time. Find out when it’s your turn to get vaccinated at RecoverSLO.org/vaccine.

Fiction: You are not required to wear a mouth guard or maintain a social distance after vaccination.

Fact: You can contract the virus several weeks after vaccination. You should always wear a mask in public, wash your hands regularly and stay away from others to prevent contact with the virus or its spread. Experts continue to learn more about the protection offered by the vaccine and will update the public health guidance as new information becomes available. (CDC)

Fiction: After vaccination you will get protection against COVID-19 immediately.

Fact: You can contract the virus several weeks after vaccination. Protection develops rapidly after the first dose, but both doses and at least two weeks after the second dose are required to achieve the 94-95% efficacy observed by the manufacturers in their initial trials of the vaccine. Although protection does not occur immediately after vaccination, the researchers found a significant decrease in the number of new cases of COVID-19 in the vaccinated subjects (compared to the placebo group) about 10 days after the first vaccination. It is important to remember that vaccination is not a panacea and you should continue to take protective measures to protect yourself and others.

Fiction: Vaccines are not safe.

Fact: COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. Both Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines are subject to rigorous testing and a thorough review process nationally and in the western states with the Scientific Safety Review Group and the state of California. The efficacy of vaccines to prevent VIDC-19 is 94-95%.

Before you consider looking at information about vaccines on the Internet, make sure that the information comes from a reliable source and is updated regularly. The County Public Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research, write and support the website’s content on vaccines and immunization by experts in the field, including physicians, researchers, epidemiologists and analysts. Scientific and public health data are regularly updated.

When looking for vaccine information online, consider the recommendations of these sources:

For more information, visit ReadySLO.org.

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