Vaccines have quite possibly been the most polarizing topic of the year.
But, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy says they work and that science supports the fact that the COVID-19 vaccine can help lower your chances of serious illness or death.
"If you do get vaccinated, that can save you from ending up in the hospital or losing your life," he said.
That message has been spread repeatedly by healthcare officials over the past few months but, for some people, skepticism is still there.
We heard a lot of it from NBA players this week.
“When I feel confident in answers I get, I will handle this accordingly,” Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards said earlier this week.
Murthy says, people should get answers to their questions, but they should also be wary of misinformation.
“One of my concerns is that there's a tremendous amount of misinformation floating around out there that's leading people to think somehow there are side effects related to infertility from the vaccines, which is absolutely not true. And, leading them to believe other myths about the vaccines. That's something that we've got to fight back against,” he said. “If it's not coming from a credible source, don't share it."
Pfizer has already submitted data to the Food and Drug Administration from vaccine trials focused on children ages 5 to 11, and Murthy believes a vaccine for young kids could be here soon.
But, until they have the option for that extra layer of protection, he says we all have to do our part to keep them safe.
"Sometimes our decisions have consequences for other people,” he said.
“We put in rules, for example, around speed limits on the highway. Because we know that, yes, even though people have their freedom to drive the way they want, it has to happen within reason so you’re not putting other people at risk. When it comes to vaccines as well, the decision not to get vaccinated, it’s not just something that impacts your health, it impacts the health of the people around you. It means that more people in your workplace or in schools will be exposed, and it also means that we strain and stress our healthcare system more.”
Murthy says it's important for leaders to study the science of public health and to use that science and that knowledge to inform our policymaking.