The Covid-19 vaccine has become so polarizing and controversial that some people in Missouri are getting inoculated in secret for fear of backlash from their friends and family who oppose vaccination, a doctor told CNN Wednesday.
“They’ve had some experience that’s sort of changed their mind from the viewpoint of those in their family, those in their friendship circles or their work circles. And they came to their own decision that they wanted to get a vaccine,” said Dr. Priscilla Frase, a hospitalist and chief medical information officer at Ozarks Healthcare in West Plains, Missouri. “They did their own research on it, and they talked to people and made the decisions themselves,” Frase told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “But even though they were able to make that decision themselves, they didn’t want to have to deal with the peer pressure or the outbursts from other people about them … ‘giving in to everything.'”
In a hospital produced video, Frase said one pharmacist at her hospital told her “they’ve had several people come in to get vaccinated who have tried to sort of disguise their appearance and even went so far as to say, ‘please, please, please don’t let anybody know that I got this vaccine.'”
Frase told CNN if a patient asks for privacy to get vaccinated, the hospital tries to accommodate the request — whether at the drive-thru window or at their cars.
Missouri has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the entire nation. Missouri has 41% of its population fully vaccinated against Covid-19, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The state is one of 49 in the US experiencing at least a 10% surge in new Covid-19 cases over last week, data from Johns Hopkins University shows. Of those 2,513,969 individuals, more are female than male, multiracial than monoracial, and older than younger, MDHSS data showed.
Early in the pandemic, COVID-19 changed from a public health issue into a political one. Many prominent conservatives have raised doubts about the lethality of the disease; others have expressed concerns about the safety and efficacy of the available vaccines as well as the constitutionality of mask mandates.