Vaccine hesitancy remains amid Emergency Use Only


NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Doctors say that more than 90% of new COVID-19 cases are patients who did not get vaccinated.

Some of those patients claim they will not get the shot because the FDA has approved the vaccines for emergency use only.

Emergency Use Authorization or “EUA” means in an emergency, such as a pandemic, the FDA can fast track products for the greater good, such as the vaccines available right now.

“We are at the epicenter of this yet again unfortunately,” said Dr. Jeffrey Elder, medical director for emergency management at LCMC Health.

Dr. Elder has heard every excuse why people are not getting the free, life-saving COVID vaccine.

“These vaccines keep people out of the hospital, they keep you from getting critically ill, and they keep you from dying from COVID. That is the big piece here,” Dr. Elder said.

Some are worried because the vaccines have only received EUA from the FDA. In order for EUA, a panal of experts looks at the data, safety data and efficacy data before allowing the public access.

“We’ve continued to scrutinize the safety data very closely over a longer period of time with millions of people now,” Dr. Elder said. “We still see that vaccines are very safe. I do think at some point that when the FDA gives full approval, it will make some people feel better about getting the vaccine.”

In hospitals, patients often get life saving medicine that has not yet received full FDA approval. Those patients want to be saved, and yet some of them still refuse the COVID vaccine. Dr. Elder wishes more people would trust the data.

“This is part of that science and medicine where clinicians have to utilize their education, their thought process, the disease process, what we know is the latest and greatest in science and how we treat people. The big piece is, is it efficacious and is it safe? The amount of time, effort and money that’s been put into these vaccines to ensure efficacy and safety is something that we have not seen for a lot of other drugs,” Dr. Elder said.

Several of Dr. Elder’s COVID patients are on oxygen, fighting for their lives and have the same message.

“They say if only I had been vaccinated earlier or if I had gone to get my vaccine,” Dr. Elder said.

The FDA has not given a timeline on how soon any of the COVID vaccines could receive full approval.

Last week, President Biden said he expects vaccines to get final approval by the fall.

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