RESTON, Va. — According to the CDC, millions of Americans are unvaccinated and hesitant about getting the COVID 19 vaccine, so we talked with a Reston, Virginia mom named Shannon Lozoskwi about her concerns.
Then, we took it a step farther and invited her along on a Verify: Road Trip. We connected her with a local hospital doctor and the head of the FDA's Vaccine Committee and along with WUSA9's Adam Longo, we let her ask the questions.
Adam and Shannon met with Dr. Sam Elgawly, the Director of Clinical Excellence and Patient flow at INOVA.
Her first question was about side effects.
"I was told a couple of times that people have gotten sick after
He said, "Things like fevers, chills, you'll feel crummy. Now, not everybody gets these symptoms." Dr. Elgawly told Shannon it's extremely rare that there will be anything past what he described and side effects usually start 12 hours after or maybe up to 24 hours.
Shannon revealed to Dr. Elgawly she has some past medical conditions and is concerned about complications. She said, "I just want to make sure I know what I'm walking into, that I don't make anything worse."
The doctor told Shannon that with the majority of patients, irrespective of their medical history, that her primary care doctor would be a good person to go to.
"There's so much information out there. And one of the toughest things is how to sift in all this noise in social media," he said.
Dr. Elgawly added the COVID-19 vaccine is "almost magical in the effect that it's had. In medicine, it's not common to see something that definitively makes a difference, as I have seen with this vaccine. It's been an inspiration, honestly, to see something like that."
Next, Shannon did a Zoom interview with Dr. Arnold Monto, Acting Chair of the Food and Drug Administration's Vaccine Committee
Shannon asked him to explain any long-term side effects.
We asked Dr. Monto to address the concerns expressed on social media about the vaccine being developed so quickly.
He replied, "Well, the fact is that by now, millions and millions of people worldwide have received the vaccine. It is safe. There are side effects that are exceedingly rare."
"If there were real concerns, they would have shown up by now because vaccines, typically, if you're going to have side effects, [they appear] in the first six weeks," he added.
In August, the FDA granted full approval to the Pfizer vaccine.
In going a step further and granting full approval, the Food and Drug Administration cited months of real-world evidence that serious side effects are extremely rare.
About a week later, Adam followed up with Shannon to ask her about her experience.
"After hearing all of the information that you got from the doctors and you being able to ask the questions that you wanted to ask, do you feel like you're more informed?"
Shannon said she felt more informed about the vaccine and that the experts answered all of her questions.
"It was definitely nice to get face to face with a doctor, and not just hear everything on, you know, social media." She added, "I think it was a beneficial experience for me, because I definitely feel more reassured, and I actually plan on getting my vaccination."