Fighting COVID-19 vaccine fallacies with facts

This issue addressed COVID-19 vaccination and integrating oral health into primary care.

Rates of COVID-19 vaccination have lagged in the U.S. recently, due in part to rampant spread of myths and misinformation. Initial concerns about the vaccines in reluctant patients have in some cases been solidified by inaccurate statements on social media and elsewhere, leading to an echo effect of sorts. But physicians, as trusted sources of health information, can do a lot to break this cycle and counter false claims with facts. Senior Writer Mollie Frost talks to experts across the country about ways to connect with patients and help support their decision making regarding COVID-19 vaccines.

Dental care is usually confined to the dentist's office, but our second cover story discusses why it should have a larger place in primary care. The siloing of oral health and physical health can lead to increased health disparities and can have a profound effect on comorbid conditions, according to experts from the Primary Care Collaborative, which issued a report on the topic earlier this year. Internists can help close oral health gaps by screening patients to make sure they're up to date on dentist appointments and including the mouth in the physical exam, among other ideas.

In other COVID-19 news, the FDA and the CDC have been working this fall to tease out the available data on vaccine longevity and when, whether, and for whom booster shots will be needed. On Oct. 8, ACP and Annals of Internal Medicine held an online forum led by Annals Deputy Editor Deborah Cotton, MD, MPH, FACP, with John R. Mascola, MD, director of the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Camille N. Kotton, MD, a member of the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). The panelists discussed the immunology of SARS-CoV-2, the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines, and the effects of the delta variant, among other topics. The forum is also available online.

Also, ACP's President, George M. Abraham, MD, MPH, MACP, continues his series of columns on inclusivity by comparing and contrasting it with diversity, and ACP's Vice President, Governmental Affairs and Medical Practice offers an update on the prioritization of primary care. Finally, read news on College elections.

How do you combat COVID-19 vaccine misinformation in your practice? Let us know at


Jennifer Kearney-Strouse
Executive Editor