Local doctors dispel myths

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Doctors throughout Mississippi County joined Blytheville Mayor James Sanders’ Feb.17 Covid report to give additional information on the vaccine and distinguish fact from fiction.

Along with Mississippi County health officer Dr. Andrews Pirtle, the report included, her husband Dr. Stephen Pirtle, Dr. Chimere Ashley and Dr. Sherita Willis.

One of the consistent rumors the doctors have acknowledged hearing was that the vaccine actually gives the patients the COVID-19 virus. Dr. Willis discredited this claim and provided further context on how the vaccine works and how it’s effective.

“[The vaccines] do not have the genetic material that is included in the virus,” Willis said. “The vaccine works by tricking your immune system into thinking the virus is in your body, but it isn’t. It just has the spike proteins or RNA included in the virus. Your body then recognizes that as foregin and makes antibodies to that spike protein or the shell of the virus. But we are not giving you the virus at all so it’s impossible to get Covid from the vaccine.”

She went on to say that side effects from the vaccine including a fever, soreness at the injection site or a headache are all normal reactions to have.

“That’s your own immune system trying to fight off the virus it thinks you have. Those side effects should not last longer than 12-24 hours,” Willis said.

Dr. Andrews Pirtle added that those reactions are a good thing and allows you to recognize that your body is building a response.

She also said those side effects should be expected after the second dose.

Dr. Ashley also assured the public that the vaccines were tested on a diverse group of individuals.

“We had black, brown, hispanic, etc. that were in the research process as well as the trials for the vaccine,” Ashley said.“I know some people are hesitant, especially in the African American community, when it comes to vaccine research. It dates back to syphilis when black men were promised treatment and were not given that treatment. I just want everyone to be aware that a diverse group was involved in the process of the research and the trials.”

They also announced that appointments can be set with Walmart in Osceola to receive the vaccine. Additionally, Willis went on to state that patients at her clinic can call her office and they will ensure each patient is placed on a waiting list.

Currently, Rose Pharmacy in Blytheville, Delta Drug in Manila and Southern Pharmacy in Leachville remain the main three pharmacies in Mississippi County giving the Covid-19 vaccination.

As of Friday, there have been 5,505 cases in Mississippi County, with 101 active cases.

Recovered cases total 5,291; there have been 112 deaths.