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Doctors answer COVID-19 vaccine questions during TV phone banks

Alabama doctors recently took to newscasts to answer viewers’ questions about the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccinations in a series of televised phone banks.

The doctors from the Medical Association of the State of Alabama and the Alabama Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics are trying to improve the state’s near last-place standing in vaccination rates. The organizations partnered with TV stations WBRC in Birmingham, WKRG in Mobile and WSFA in Montgomery.

The Medical Association is hoping to do more vaccine call-in programs with television stations in Huntsville and Dothan.

“We want to do all we can to help people get their questions answered and get vaccinated,” Dr. Aruna Arora, president of the Medical Association, said.

About 32% of Alabamians are fully vaccinated, according to information from the Mayo Clinic. Only Mississippi has a lower percentage.

So far, the panels of doctors have talked directly with about 530 people.

Many callers have had questions about potential side effects of the vaccines, as well as how getting vaccinated could affect their underlying medical conditions, according to a press release from the association. Others asked how long protection from a COVID-19 vaccine lasts, if the vaccines are safe for children, and if they needed to get vaccinated after already having had COVID.

“It’s perfectly normal for people to have questions and want more information about the vaccines, and they can trust doctors to provide them facts,” Arora said. “We are grateful for the opportunity to answer their questions, allay fears and encourage people to get vaccinated.”

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