"Reading Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or blog posts is not doing your own research."

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – While COVID-19 cases in Allegheny County are plateauing, Health Director Dr. Debra Bogen says more people are dying and she’s blaming vaccine misinformation.

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Cases are dropping to about 350 to 400 a day in Allegheny County. Hospitalizations are still increasing, but Bogen says those usually lag a couple of weeks behind cases.

Deaths, she says, are higher than they’ve been in months. In September, 90 people died, which is the highest monthly number since 91 people died in April.

“What pains me most is that many and probably most of those deaths could have been prevented, but misinformation is literally killing people,” said Bogen.

Bogen says medical workers tell her people who are hospitalized are unvaccinated and say they didn’t get the shot because they “did their own research.”

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“As someone who conducted clinical research and worked alongside countless others who did too, I’m going to push back on that statement. Reading Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or blog posts is not doing your own research. Nor is getting your information from websites that spread misinformation or endorse conspiracy theories,” said Bogen.

Bogen instead points to scientific literature from primary sources like the CDC, New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet and Pediatrics that require peer review to be published — unlike social media.

She called out false information about vaccines affecting fertility or that the anti-parasite drug ivermectin prevents COVID-19.

In Allegheny County since Sept. 1, Bogen says nine people age 25 to 49 died from COVID and none of them were vaccinated. In the 50 to 64 age group, 16 people have died and 13 were unvaccinated.

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“These are young people, all of them taken way too early. They leave behind heartbroken families and irreplaceable voids in their communities. And in most cases, they simply did not need to die. In most cases, had they gotten the vaccine, they would still be alive today,” said Bogen.