With COVID-19 vaccine approvals on the horizon, local doctors are fielding questions about their safety


COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — As progress towards a COVID-19 vaccine continues, a number of companies could soon see their drug hit the market.

Pfizer is expected to have their vaccine reviewed by the FDA within the next two weeks, while Moderna and AstraZeneca also move closer to a successful vaccine.

Yet still, doctors say questions about their safety remain among patients.

“There are few things that we do in medicine that have been proven more safe and effective than vaccines,” says Dr. Stephen Auciello, a Family Medicine Physician with OhioHealth.

With potentially up to three or more vaccines at their disposal this time a year from now, experts are fielding more and more questions about trial data.

“Does that mean the vaccine is safe? Does that mean I have concerns? What does that mean? What’s it all about?” explains Dr. Joseph Gastaldo, OhioHealth’s Infectious Disease expert.

Helping answer those questions is why experts like Dr. Gastaldo have been working tirelessly to educate doctors within the healthcare system.

“My job, our job collectively is to be able to talk to all healthcare providers in a way that they understand, so they can talk to their patients,” Gastaldo explains.

For physician’s like Dr. Auciello, those discussions with patients are happening daily; and are rooted in a trust-based relationship.

“That trust cannot be overstated. I think the patient-physician relationship is a really powerful one,” Auciello admits.

But when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines, Dr. Auciello says patient hesitancy is still there.

“We spend a lot of time trying to have those conversation with our patients, trying to make sure that they understand any potential risks and any potential benefits to any vaccine,” explains Auciello.

Among the benefits include the impact on minority and marginalized populations that have been disproportionately affected by the virus.

“The current vaccine trials that are undergoing are including people from all walks of life to make sure this is safe and effective,” Auciello says.

But the choice to receive a vaccine could ultimately be complicated by the constantly-evolving virus, and growing spread of misinformation.

“Look, we can make a vaccine, but people have to choose to receive the vaccine. And we have to start having that complicated discussion now,” Gastaldo urges.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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