‘There are very few medical reasons not to get the COVID vaccine.’ Local health leaders combat COVID-19 misinformation, medical exemptions

Coronavirus

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Local health leaders pushed back against COVID-19 misinformation Friday amid recent companies mandating vaccines for employees and clinics offering vaccine exemption forms.

Doctors around the world and locally have said the key to beating this wave of infections is to get vaccinated. However, an Oklahoma clinic said on Facebook that if an employer mandates vaccines, they can write a doctor’s note exempting you from it if you qualify.

“There are very few medical reasons not to get the COVID vaccine,” said Dr. Dale Bratzler, the University of Oklahoma’s Chief COVID-19 officer.

The post comes from a Broken Bow clinic called Stover Family Clinic. The post says that if you need a doctor’s note stating your reasons for not taking the vaccine, “you may schedule an appointment with us.”

The person who posted it said she has spoken to and HR rep and her forms would be accepted. The post claims anyone could be unvaccinated and keep their jobs with it.

“I think there’s a lot of misinformation out there,” Bratzler said.

Doctors like Bratzler are saying this is nothing new. Bratzler said he has even received messages from patients saying doctors have encouraged them to not get the vaccine.

“There are a couple of sites around the state that I’m aware of that are doing that, giving vaccine exemption vouchers or medical, that are not based on any science,” Bratzler said.

Bratzler added that the main justification for not getting the second dose is if you had an allergic reaction to the first one. The only way to know if that happens is for you to get it.

Photo goes with story
An Oklahoma City metro resident receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

Bratzler went as far as to call the actions of exemptions and telling people not to get it “inappropriate.”

“I’m just very frustrated by it because it’s completely inappropriate,” he said.

According to Bratzler, with 200 million Pfizer doses administered alone in the U.S., there are almost no reports of serious side effects. Bratzler also said of the four billion doses administered worldwide, most reported incidents are minor.

“There’s a ton of mess out there that these vaccines are not safe or other things,” Bratzler said. “I just am profoundly shocked that people keep falling victim to some of this misinformation that’s out there.”

Bratzler claims to have gotten messages from someone’s daughter who told him she’s worried about their family’s physician.

“My parents’ doctor – and they’re both in their 80s – told them they really didn’t need to get the vaccine,” Bratzler said of the girl who messaged him. “That is just tragic.”

According to Bratzler, these actions can be dangerous.

“I believe there’s liability risk if that person then subsequently goes on and gets infected and has complications from COVID19,” he said.

Statistics show that 20 percent of people 80 years and older who have had a positive test have died.

We reached out to the clinic for comment and spoke to a nurse briefly over the phone. She reiterated the post before hanging up, again saying it’s only for people who qualify. We called back but no one answered. We reached out a third time from a desk phone. A receptionist picked up before quickly hanging up again.

The clinic shared another post clarifying the original that is no longer on their Facebook page. In the second, post they said they are not anti-vaccine and, in fact, they agree with them and believe in them. However, that only extends to those that are FDA approved, according to the post. Right now, all vaccines are emergency use authorized.

Dr. Bratzler said the Pfizer vaccine will likely be fully approved by the FDA in about another month to six weeks.

Continued Coronavirus Coverage

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