UCI doctor dispels COVID-19 vaccine rumors, encourages people to get vaccination

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- As Orange County hospitals prepare to received the first COVID-19 vaccine shipments, which are expected to arrive next week, doctors want to reassure those who may have reservations about getting the shots.

More than 25,000 COVID-19 Pfizer vaccines are scheduled to arrive in Orange County hospitals by Dec. 15, according to the director of the Orange County Health Care Agency.

Dr. Jose Mayorga, the executive director of the UCI Family Health Center in Santa Ana, said Thursday that he would get an immunization as soon as possible.

"Absolutely, I will be ready to get the vaccine once I'm notified that I'm available to get it and I'm going to encourage my family members to do the same," Mayorga said.

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Orange County health leaders said all hospitals are ready to safely store the immunizations and give the first round to high-risk health care providers.

O.C. Sheriff Don Barnes warned residents to be prepared for criminals in search of opportunity-the vaccine is not for sale.

"Anybody contacted with the intent to sell or money the vaccine, it is not accurate. It is fraud," Sheriff Barnes said.

Mayorga hoped to help put some of the rumors surrounding the vaccine to rest. He said those who get the Pfizer vaccine will not have the virus injected into their bodies.

"There's not a dead COVID-19 virus or a live one in there," Mayorga said.

Instead, the messenger RNA going into the body introduces what is known as the spike protein. That's what the virus uses to attack our cells.

"Our immune system then creates all the defenses against it to not allow the coronavirus to use its spike protein to enter our bodies," Mayorga explained.

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Side effects like fever, chills, body aches and bone pain are likely within three days of each of the two injections, according to Mayorga.

"That's a good thing. We should cheer for that because it tells us our immune system is doing what it needs to do to prepare for the real infection," Mayorga said.

To give our bodies the best fighting chance, Mayorga said it's important with the Pfizer immunization to get that second shot 21 days after the first one.

"Commit to that because it is after the second shot that we was 95% immunity develop in the studies," Mayorga said.

Mayorga said to reach heard immunity, which is indirect protection from contracting the virus, at least 70% of the population needs to get vaccinated.
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