Study finds misinformation still driving vaccine hesitancy

Posted at 5:53 PM, Jun 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-01 21:03:19-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- California is expected to fully reopen in less than two weeks, and while the number of new COVID-19 cases continues to drop dramatically, health officials say in San Diego County, there still aren't enough people vaccinated to reach herd immunity.

An April survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found 54% of Americans believe "common misinformation" about the COVID-19 vaccines. Among people age 18-29, 42% said they heard the vaccines can cause infertility.

Dr. Christian Ramers is the chief of population health at Family Health Centers of San Diego. He's also an infectious disease specialist. He said social media is fueling much of the misinformation.

"The pot has been stirred a little bit by anti-vax people and misinformation that's been spread on the internet," said Dr. Ramers.

Dr. Ramers said there is absolutely no truth to the belief that the vaccine can impact fertility.

"When you actually look at the data, literally there is zero, zero evidence that there's any effect on fertility, and there's really even no theoretical biological plausibility to why a vaccine like this should affect fertility," said Dr. Ramers.

In contrast, he says there is plenty of data to show the dangers of COVID-19 in pregnant women.

"Very, very high risk of death; women are 20 times more likely to die if they're pregnant and get Covid," said Dr. Ramers.

Another myth that's circulating on social media is that a fever, a possible side effect of the vaccine, can affect male fertility.

"There's some thought if you get a fever your sperm count will decrease. You talk to fertility experts, yes a fever will decrease sperm count, I'll tell you what will give you a fever is Covid, a very high fever," said Ramers.

Last week, California's governor announced an incentive program that includes cash and prizes for people who get vaccinated.

"Those who are kind of on the fence and just waiting to be pushed, I think it's definitely going to help them," said Ramers.