Michaela Almgren already has two jobs, but in recent months, she’s found herself appointed to a third: COVID-19-vaccine information hub.
A foot in each world: A pharmacist by training, Almgren divides her time between the University of South Carolina’s College of Pharmacy, where she is an assistant professor in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Outcomes Sciences, and Nephron Pharmaceuticals, where she is clinical adviser and pharmacy student internship director.
- Owing to her impressive background in drug formulation and analytical method development as a hospital pharmacist, as well as her skills as a lecturer, Almgren has also become a sort of de facto conspiracy-theory debunker when it comes to COVID-19 vaccination.
A go-to for facts: In recent months, in her capacity as both a professor and a Nephron employee, Almgren has given lectures and presentations about COVID-19, its variants and the vaccines—and she’s had significant follow-up questions from audience members.
- “A lot of people just fall into this misinformation mill” about the vaccine, Almgren said. “Typing in something like ‘Dangerous COVID-19 vaccine’ will give you this feed of articles, but it doesn’t mean the vaccine is dangerous.… That’s just how these [search engines] work.”
Convincing and calm: Almgren has been the impetus for the vaccination of several employees at Nephron, which has a 100% vaccination rate.
- “They’d say, ‘Thank you for talking with me. I was unsure about the vaccine, and it made me nervous, but talking with you made me feel that it was OK.’”
Fact vs. fiction: Almgren shared some of the top vaccine-related myths she’s successfully debunked during presentations and other conversations.
- “They have long-term side effects.” Fact: “This is where I talk about how these [vaccine] components don’t stay in your body more than 72 hours. The idea is just to elicit an immune response, and then it’s gone. And think about it on a global scale. If it was so deadly and terrible, by now we would see millions of people dropping dead or getting really sick” as a direct result.
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