Some in Missouri Seek Covid-19 Shots in Secret, Doctor Says

Some in Missouri Seek Covid-19 Shots in Secret, Doctor Says
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Some in Missouri Seek Covid-19 Shots in Secret, Doctor Says

Some in Missouri Seek Covid-19 Shots in Secret, Doctor Says

Even though the most contagious Delta variant is leading to an increase in infections, the Covid-19 vaccination effort has become so polarized in Missouri that some people are trying to get vaccinated in secret to avoid conflict with their friends. and their loved ones, said a doctor there.

In a video released by her employer, Dr Priscilla A. Frase, a hospitalist and medical information manager at Ozarks Healthcare in West Plains, Missouri, said this month that several people pleaded for anonymity when they came to be vaccinated. , and that some seemed to have made an effort to disguise themselves.

“I work closely with our pharmacists who are leading our vaccination efforts across our organization,” she said, “and one of them told me the other day that they had brought in several people for the vaccine who have tried to cover up their appearance. and even went so far as to say, “Please, please don’t let anyone know I got this vaccine.” “

It was not clear how many people had tried to change their appearance to avoid being recognized, or how they had done it. Dr Frase, who wore a mask in the video, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Some people, she said in the video, were “very concerned about how the people they love, in their families and in their circles of friendship and work, will react to them. they find out that they have received the vaccine “.

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“No one should have to feel that kind of pressure to get something they want, you know,” she added. “We should all be able to be free to do whatever we want to do, and that includes people who don’t want to be vaccinated as well as people who want to be vaccinated. But we have to stop making fun of people who want or don’t want to be vaccinated. “

The video was circulating online as Missouri public health officials faced a resurgent epidemic, sparked by the Delta variant and concentrated in the south and southwest of the state.

The state’s immunization rate is lower than that of most other states and the nation as a whole. According to a New York Times database, 41% of Missouri residents have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, compared to more than 49% nationally. In Howell County, Missouri, where Ozarks Healthcare and Dr. Frase are based, only 20% of residents are fully immunized.

Nearly 2,500 new cases of Covid-19 were reported in Missouri on Wednesday, a 54% increase from the previous two weeks. Hospitalizations increased 38 percent over the same period.

Studies suggest that approved vaccines remain effective against the Delta variant, but public health experts say Delta poses a serious threat to unvaccinated populations.

Despite this evidence, public health measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus, including vaccinations, have been politicized across much of the country. In some places, including parts of Missouri, not being vaccinated has become a pride for some people. In a Politico report this week, few people interviewed at Lake of the Ozarks, a popular tourist destination, admitted to having been vaccinated, and some said they had been humiliated by friends or relatives.

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In the video, Dr Frase said she was particularly troubled by the increased spread of vaccine misinformation.

“My fear is that people will get information from the wrong sources and therefore make uninformed decisions rather than informed decisions,” she said.

“I want people to ask the doctors,” she added, “or ask someone they trust and have a good knowledge of – not to trust the stuff that exists on social media, don’t trust people who have opinions not based on fact. “

It was “disheartening,” she said, “to have come to this place where we as health care providers thought things might have finally returned to our new normal after this. pandemic”.

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