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ALABAMA (WHNT) — Medical professionals say some people in Alabama are still not taking COVID-19 seriously.

Only 50% of the state are vaccinated and healthcare professionals are still working tirelessly to convince those who are hesitant to get vaccinated. 

They describe it as a war against COVID and a war against misinformation.

It’s now two years into the COVID-19 pandemic and medical personnel in Alabama say they are consumed by the large number of patients who still use misinformation on social media to refuse to get the vaccine, even though it is proven to prevent hospitalization and death. 

“It’s hard not to be frustrated with the scenario in and of itself and to look of the face of it,” Dr. Todd McCarthy of UAB Infectious Diseases tells News 19.  

McCarthy says that he is still trying to figure out whether there is enough misinformation about the vaccines that his patients have bought into.

“It’s tough but I think the degree of frustration varies when I ask why. For a lot of patients, they comment on lack of access or worry about side effects,” said McCarthy.  

Dr. Wes Stubblefield of the Alabama Department of Public Health agrees. “Having the difficulty finding trusted sources of information has always been the case. It’s just been highlighted more so during COVID-19.” 

Stubblefield says that the amount of misinformation has stressed both the healthcare system and hospital nursing staff. 

“Healthcare providers have borne a lot of the brunt both on the taking care of the patient’s side and trying to get that factual information out about the disease and about the vaccine, and continuing to have their own families and work-life balances and all of these other things.” 

In Alabama, only 17% of the child population between the ages of 5 and 11 are vaccinated. That ranks dead last in the United States and medical professionals say misinformation for parents may be affecting those numbers. 

“As much as this has impacted our ability to manage Covid in itself, will this misinformation campaign spread out into other areas of life,” said McCarthy.