Fayetteville man who spent a month in ICU with COVID-19 skeptical of vaccine

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- The first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine continue rolling out nationwide but some remain skeptical.

And that includes those who have had near death experiences with the virus.

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"I'm afraid of it because I'm afraid of the side effects," said Alfred Payne, who is a COVID-19 survivor. "Having had a weird experience with the flu vaccine, I was so sick. I had never taken it before. For the majority of my life I had never gotten sick."

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Payne is leery of the vaccine. The Fayetteville resident spent a month in the ICU at Cape Fear Valley hospital fighting for his life. He developed double kidney failure, pneumonia and ultimately lost 100 pounds. Hospitals across the country have started to administer the vaccine and he has no intentions of signing up any time soon.

"Having had a weird experience with the flu vaccine...with the flu vaccine I was so sick," he said. "I had never taken it before. For the majority of my life, I had never gotten sick."

Severe adverse reactions occurred in less than 4.6 percent of the Pfizer trial participants and were less frequent in older adults compared to younger participants.

Health officials are encouraging everyone to get vaccinated in an effort to eradicate the virus, even those with no pre-existing health conditions.

"We really need everybody to get defenses to this. So the longer people carry and transmit it from person to person, the more likely a vulnerable person could potentially get sick," said Dr. Sam Fleishman, Chief Medical Officer at Cape Fear Valley Hospital.

The vaccine does not contain live virus.

"Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are being made with what's calling messenger RNA so it's actually just a little snippet of the genes of the virus," Dr. Betsy Tilson, state health director, has said previously. "It's just a little snippet of that and your body then can make a protein that is similar to the virus and then it can mount that immune response. There is no live virus. There's no plasma, no stem cells. It's just a little tiny snippet of the part of the gene of the virus."

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Despite that, Payne is not entirely sure yet.

"I would have to see or hear from someone who has gone through what I've gone through and be okay," said Payne.
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