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Lingering vaccine hesitations in Jordan causing some doctors growing concern

وسط البلد امجد الطويل 4-2021
While 3.42 million Jordanians have been fully vaccinated, 66 percent of the population still has not been, and some doctors are growing concerned due to the misinformation around the COVID-19 vaccines. (Photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — The fight against misinformation surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine is still ongoing. While approximately 3.42 million Jordanians have been fully vaccinated, 66 percent of the population are still is not, and some doctors are growing concerned. اضافة اعلان

Due to misinformation about the vaccine being spread on social media platforms and through word of mouth, some Jordanians are hesitant to take the vaccine. 

People fear side effects 

Dr. Suhaib Muhammed Eid has, during the past year, met several patients who resisted taking the COVID-19 vaccine. “The patients I have met, who do not want to take the vaccine often say that they have already had the COVID-19 infection, and therefore believe they are immune. This is not a scientific fact; you can get the virus again even though you have already had it,” he said. 

Eid shared that people get their information through social media or from friends and family and that some of his patients got misinformation through WhatsApp or Facebook. 

“They would rather listen to them (misinformation) than to their doctor. They are afraid of getting the side effects that it may cause, such as collapsing or allergic reactions. Some people also think they will get the virus from taking the vaccine, which is not true.” 

Through his work, Eid tried to give his patients the information they need to feel safe when taking the vaccine. He shared scientific facts and provided personal experiences to ease their mind. 

“I use my family as an example: My mother and all my siblings, myself included, had the coronavirus last year before taking the vaccine. Our father was the only one who did not get ill due to him having taken the vaccine,” he said.

Fear of the ingredients  

Muhammad Zaid did not want to get the vaccine but had to due to his work. “At the beginning, I resisted taking the vaccine because I didn’t know what it consisted of. I didn’t know the ingredients that were in it. I believe there is a virus in it, something not good for the immune system,” he said.

When asked about what sources he read regarding the vaccine, Zaid shared: “I didn’t read, but I think it is normal to feel afraid in this situation, when you are putting something into your body that you don’t know what is.”

However, Zaid shared that he was worried about the consequences of not taking the vaccine. Especially with restrictions around entering public spaces and the fear of potentially getting a fine. “I had to get vaccinated to continue my life normally and for no one to bother me,” he said.

Similarly, a plumber in Amman who asked to remain anonymous shared his concerns around what the vaccine could contain. He told Jordan News that he has been at the doctor`s office three times to take the vaccine but has changed his mind every time. 

“I do not like the idea of putting something I do not know what is into my body,” he said. 

The plumber shared that currently, his wife is sick with cancer, and he is taking care of her at home as she is going through chemotherapy. 

When asked about the risks of not taking the vaccine, he shared that he is aware of them, but he is not afraid. “I am not afraid of not taking it, and I do not fear the coronavirus either. I have a strong body and so many other concerns in my life,” he said.

Important for the society 

Not everyone is as hesitant to take the vaccine. Diana Zureiqi believes it is essential that everyone accepts taking the COVID-19 vaccine. “We should all take the vaccine to protect our health, our families, and society,” says Zureiqi. 

Even though she knew she would take the vaccine all along, it did not happen without hesitation.

“I was nervous because it was something new. I already had COVID-19 and got quite sick from it, so I was also a bit afraid of getting physical pain from the vaccine. But in the end, I do not want to get COVID again as it was painful, so I decided to take the vaccine,” she shared.

She told Jordan News that she mainly read about the vaccine in newspapers and got information through different people on social media. 

Misplaced skepticism 

Dr. Mais Al-Karmi is a plastic surgeon working in Amman. Throughout her work, she has talked to several patients who do not want to get the vaccine. While Karmi does not work directly with vaccinations, she told Jordan News that she encounters a lot of skepticism towards the COVID-19 vaccines in the field. 

During these encounters, she shared that several people have expressed their concerns about the rapid development of the vaccines. Others have told her that they fear the side effects. 

“I tell my patients that it is very important that they take the vaccine. I think everything you do in life has consequences, such as lifestyle habits, and it is the same with the vaccine. If you have enough trust to eat junk food from producers you do not know, I think you also must be able to trust taking the vaccine,” she said. 

Karmi worked in the US until she moved back to Jordan three months ago. She fears that Jordan will go in the same direction as the US regarding skepticism over the vaccine, which has grown immensely over the past year.

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