PRINCETON, WV (WVNS) — The Mercer County Health Department held an open forum Thursday, December 3, 2020 to answer questions about the COVID-19 vaccines. Dr. Steven Stefancic, a local physician and Mercer County Health Officer, spoke at the forum. He wanted to calm any fears about the vaccines.
“Everything in life has risks. You walk across the street, you have to look both ways to make sure a car is not coming. Buckle up when you go on a car trip, wear a helmet when you ride a motorcycle to be cautious. Just with taking Tylenol and ibuprofen, there are risks to any type of medication,” said Dr. Stefancic.
Dr. Stefancic said this vaccine is the beginning of hope for not only Mercer County, but for the rest of the world.
Dr. Daniel Wells is a local pharmacist. He also spoke at the forum and had words of encouragement for those who are unsure about the vaccine.
“My encouragement to everyone that has a distrust, everyone that has any type of feeling towards it, any questions. Reach out to your healthcare provider, someone that you trust, that is informed and ask these questions,” said Dr. Wells.
Dr. Wells spoke about some of the science behind the vaccine. He described it as MRNA based.
“This new vaccine injects the MRNA into your system so that it can go into a healthy cell to create a spike protein so your natural antibody can create a defense against it,” said Dr. Wells.
Dr. Wells said the side effects continue to be studied. He said the Pfizer vaccine shows the same side effect profile which you would typically see with other vaccines.
Dr. Stefancic added while West Virginia will be receiving doses of the Pfizer vaccine, the Mercer County Health Department will not be the deciding party in who receives treatment first.
“As healthcare providers, our job is to make sure the risk and the benefit is weighed and we’re able to come to an agreement about is this safe enough, is this ready enough, are you comfortable enough to take the vaccine?” said Dr. Stefancic.