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'A gross misrepresentation': doctors push back on attorney general's questioning of vaccine science

Attorney General John O'Connor

Local doctors say the attorney general’s questioning of COVID vaccine science is misguided.

During a Tuesday press conference to give updates on his five lawsuits against vaccine requirements for various groups, Attorney General John O’Connor said the science behind the vaccine “really isn’t clear.”

Chair of Informatics at University of Oklahoma, Dr. David Kendrick, said we’re fortunate to have the knowledge to create a vaccine.

“We’re blessed as a species that we’ve developed these techniques to be able to respond quickly,” said Kendrick.

Kendrick said he agrees there’s a lot unknown about COVID, but unlike O’Connor, his problem with gaps in knowledge is more about how COVID impacts people who get it rather than throwing doubt on preventions.

“I will definitely agree that a lot is unknown. For me, a lot of the unknown is for folks who’ve had the virus,” said Kendrick.

President of the Oklahoma State Medical Association Dr. Mary Clarke said O’Connor doesn’t understand how much data has been collected.

“I think questioning the science is a gross misrepresentation of how we do things in medicine. This is not we look at one thing, make a decision, and we’re done,” said Clarke.

The state hospital association reports over 80% of COVID patients are unvaccinated.

Before joining Public Radio Tulsa, Elizabeth Caldwell was a freelance reporter and a teacher. She holds a master's from Hollins University. Her audio work has appeared at KCRW, CBC's The World This Weekend, and The Missouri Review. She is a south Florida native.