Senator's COVID vaccine event 'misinformation,' doctors say

Stay in your lane.

That is the message from a trio of Wisconsin doctors to Sen. Ron Johnson after he hosted a press event Monday, June 28 with people who experienced negative COVID-19 vaccine side effects. The doctors say it's a misinformation campaign, and they are particularly worried about the timing.

Johnson said he brought a handful of families to Wisconsin to highlights their experiences in getting the COVID-19 vaccines. 

"I think the American public should be able to have informed consent when deciding whether or not to take an experimental vaccine, one way or the other," Johnson said on Monday. 

Maddie de Garay, 12, of Cincinnati, took part in a clinical trial and has had severe side effects ever since.

"She was totally fine before this. She did the right thing, tried to help everybody else, and they're not helping her," Maddie's mother, Stephanie de Garay, said.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin)

But Tuesday night, three doctors with the left-leaning Committee to Protect Health Care said Johnson's event only harms vaccination efforts. They say the benefit to getting vaccinated outweighs the minimal risk of side effects.

"Let's be clear, serious side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines are extremely rare. The chances of dying from COVID-19 is many, many times greater than the chance of serious side effects from a COVID-19 vaccine," Dr. Madelaine Tully of Milwaukee said.

Public health data shows vaccinations have plateaued in Wisconsin just as concerns are rising about the Delta variant being even more dangerous.

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COVID-19 vaccine

The doctors say their message is simple: If you have vaccine questions, take them to a health care professional

"As physicians, we urge Sen. Johnson to stop spreading baseless misinformation and start helping us protect and save lives by encouraging Wisconsinites to get vaccinated," said Dr. Scott Walker of Prairie du Chien.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services said its coronavirus statistics show the vaccines are safe and effective. Between March 1 and June 24, of the 433 people who have died from the virus, 95% were not vaccinated.

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