Gov. Northam, Dr. Fauci discuss COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and role of healthcare providers in receiving vaccine

Gov. Ralph Northam and Dr. Anthony Fauci .png
Posted at 3:52 PM, Aug 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-03 22:13:01-04

RICHMOND, Va. - For Ed Sokhey, getting his COVID-19 vaccine was top of mind.

“I got it as soon as I could get it,” Sokhey told News 3. “I believe in the science, and I think that our fastest way out of this is for everybody to get it as soon as they can.”

Meanwhile, Christene Moore said she's hesitant about getting her shot.

“It’s pretty trivial,” Moore said. “I don’t want to get it yet because I don’t know how it’s going to work out in the long run.”

“I understand people that are reluctant about things that they can’t see,” Sokhey added.

Gov. Ralph Northam participated in a conversation with Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to the president of the United States, and other healthcare providers Tuesday night.

“We have a very important tool that we can counter this: A highly-effective vaccine that is very safe,” Fauci said in Tuesday’s webinar.

They discussed how healthcare providers can best approach their vital roles in addressing the fact that people may be hesitant to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and educating patients about the vaccines that are available.

“Just over 60% of Virginians have had at least one shot, and 54% are fully vaccinated,” Northam said. “We want more people to be protected, especially as the Delta variant circulates.”

“The real-world efficacy remains extremely high, particularly against hospitalizations and death, and the safety data are as good as you can get,” Fauci said.

“Our vaccines do very well, even against the Delta variant,” Fauci added. “Although we don’t have the technicality of a full approval, what we do know about these vaccines is overwhelmingly more than what we know about most products that are under emergency use authorization.”

For Dr. Keith Newby, medical director of Health Equity with Sentara Healthcare, separating facts from fiction is personal.

“My catchphrase is, 'Don’t hesitate to vaccinate,'” Newby said. “Get out there and get it done.”

Newby told News 3 he’s had family and nearly 60 of his patients die from COVID-19.

“When you see your people die from this infection… that was enough for me to have a personal stake in this,” he said.

Newby’s biggest fight has been disinformation.

“They put a lot of wrong information out that is I guess promoting the hesitancy that you see,” he said. “Don’t get your information from social media. Go to a reputable source. That’s where you go to get the information you need.”

Fauci said during Tuesday’s webinar that he hopes the COVID-19 vaccine will have full approval by the FDA before the end of August.

In the meantime, Newby said knowledge is power.

“Arm yourself with information,” he said. “That is the key. Understand how does this vaccine work. If you understand how this vaccine works, you can understand then how to combat your fear factor with what this vaccine is supposed to do.”

News 3 streamed the webinar live in this story and on our Facebook page. If you missed it, you can watch it above.

Click here for our full COVID vaccination guide.