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UT Southwestern releases guide for talking to people who are vaccine-hesitant, addresses most common concerns

Dr. Sonja Bartolome addresses each reason why people won't get vaccinated with science and data explaining why the arguments don't hold up.

DALLAS — According to the latest data uploaded to the Texas Department of State Services COVID-19 dashboard, 61% of Texans who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine have received at least one dose, and 52% are fully vaccinated. 

With the more-contagious Delta variant becoming the most common strain in the United States, rising case numbers and a school year quickly approaching, the race to get more people vaccinated is on.

Some health officials have even given the grim warning that a decision to not get vaccinated is an inevitable COVID-19 diagnosis. 

RELATED: 'Pandemic of the unvaccinated' burdens busy US hospitals

Yet, there are still many people who still haven't received the vaccine for various reasons. 

Dr. Sonja Bartolome, who specializes in internal medicine and pulmonary disease at UT Southwestern's Medical Center, released a guide to address 10 common reasons people aren't vaccinated. She addresses each one with science and data explaining why the arguments don't hold up.

A 26-year-old woman from Frisco told WFAA her initial choice to not get vaccinated stemmed from believing the vaccines were developed too quickly, and there wasn't enough information about them.

It's one of the issues raised in the UT Southwestern guidance. The response echoes that of which we've heard from other medical experts, including the research director from Plano-based lab where trials were being run on kids for the COVID vaccine.

RELATED: 'It was just overwhelming, the response': Plano clinic prepares to enroll young children in Moderna vaccine trial

She states that the vaccines have been through the same amount of testing as any other vaccine. The process to get full FDA approval has just been different because of the need to get it out to the public more quickly. While testing would've been done in different time periods and rolled out more slowly, labs ran rounds at the same time and sped up the process because of the immediacy of the situation. Both Moderna and Pfizer have applied for full FDA approval. 

The guide is intended to bust myths or rumors that are keeping people from being vaccinated. From misinformation about how the vaccine was created to how safe it is and whether or not young people need to get it, Dr. Bartolome's answers are clear and to the point. 

And that's important because there's also a study busting the myth that someone who's decided not to get vaccinated never will. 

The Keiser Family Foundation, a non-profit focused on researching public health issues, conducted a study on vaccine hesitancy back in January. It surveyed a group of people about their position on getting the vaccine. Six months later, they followed up. 

RELATED: Texas teachers' group calls on Gov. Abbott to allow school districts to require masks

Twenty-one percent, or more than one-fifth, of adults surveyed who said they wanted to "wait and see" about getting vaccinated, would only get vaccinated if required or would not get vaccinated are now vaccinated. The study said many of them attributed their change of heart to conversations they had with friends, family and physicians. 

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