Some people in Missouri are dressing in disguise and begging doctors to not publicly reveal they've received a COVID-19 vaccine, a doctor said.
Priscilla Frase, Ozarks Healthcare hospitalist, said patients voiced concerns on how their family members, friends and co-workers would react if they got vaccinated.
"Nobody should have to feel that pressure to get something that they want. We've got to stop ridiculing people who do or don't want to get the vaccine," Frase said in a video produced by the hospital.
Frase told CNN's Anderson Cooper she fears people are gathering their vaccine-related information from unreliable sources, including social media. She urged the public to look to the medical community for answers.
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"Yes, it's a new vaccine; yes, it's the first time this technology has been used for a vaccine, but hundreds of millions of people around the world have been vaccinated … and how they do after getting vaccinated is much better than if people are not vaccinated," Frase said.
As a health care worker in the pandemic, Frase said it's "heart-wrenching" to see COVID-19-related hospitalization.
Missouri has 41% of its population fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The state is one of many experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
Tuesday, the CDC urged fully vaccinated Americans to wear masks indoors in areas of high coronavirus transmission.
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"It's really disheartening to be at a place where health care providers maybe thought that things were finally getting back to whatever our new normal is going to be after this pandemic and then to get this surge, to see the impact on some of the staff is heartbreaking," Frase said.
While the delta variant is on the rise, Frase said, hospitals are bracing for more hospitalizations. She said patients who contracted the delta variant need more oxygen than usual COVID-19 patients.
Frase advised people to do what's best for their health before it's too late.
"Get vaccinated, so you don't get COVID and end up like some of the patients I've taken care of who are really sick and then get to a point where they're asking me if they're going to die," Frase said.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Missouri doctor says people in disguise are coming for COVID vaccine