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Florida skeptics rethink vaccines in the delta variant surge




Callahan, Florida (AP) — In the countryside of northeastern Florida, few people were infected with the coronavirus. Roger West could safely tell others that he was “resolutely opposed to vaccination.”

The co-owner of the Westside Journal’s weekly newspaper used his voice as a columnist to his doubts about the vaccine and his urge to everyone to get the vaccine against US health professionals. I shared a wide range of distrust.

“I don’t trust the federal government,” West wrote recently. “I don’t trust Dr. Fauci. I don’t trust medical professionals or pharmaceutical giants.”

But something changed his mind: two of West’s close friends got sick from the virus and the third died. Feeling rattling and stressed, he prayed for guidance. Then, when both his mother and another relative urged him to be vaccinated, he saw it as a sign from God. West drove to the Winn Dixie supermarket and rolled up his sleeves for the first of the two injections of the Moderna vaccine.

“Suddenly it really hit near the house,” he said.

Not just in the west. In this endorheic region of Nassau County, between the Jacksonville and Georgia-Florida orchestral orchestral swamps, the devastating resurgence of the coronavirus has reconsidered shots even by some enthusiastic vaccine skeptics.

In the week ending July 29, 89,000 counties recorded 810 new cases of coronavirus. At that time, it was the highest rate in Florida. It is one of the epicenters of the nationwide epidemic of infections caused by highly contagious delta mutants.

Some residents of the county, who thought the pandemic was almost over, suddenly saw multiple families infected during the recent waves. One young woman living in the town of Callahan, with a population of about 1,000, saw her fiancé, mother and grandmother die of COVID-19 within a week.

Dwight Allen, a pastor of the 200-member congregation of God’s Anchor Church, said: When members ask him about the shot, Allen tells them he was jabbed without any bad side effects.

Dr. Phillips Kao, a family practitioner who treats patients at the University of Florida Health Clinic in Callahan, said many older people in the area were injected with the coronavirus a few months ago, but the infection dropped sharply in the spring. , Said a young adult postponed the injection of coronavirus.

“Everyone thought it was dying or disappearing … and then this new variant came out,” he said. “It was just ripe for another bad surge.”

Prior to Independence Day, Kao was probably seeing one coronavirus patient every two weeks. Now he said, he often tests 7 patients daily. Five of them usually return positive for the virus, and often two are so ill that he sends them to the hospital.

A surge in infectious diseases can force more people to fire. Nearly 4,400 people were vaccinated in Nassau County in the three weeks leading up to August 12, according to state health data. This is enough to increase the total number of vaccinations in the county by nearly 11%.

Prior to this latest wave of viruses, Callahan Funeral Hall has not dealt with arrangements for COVID-19 victims since April. Since then it has changed. Owner Ellis Makaninchi said she oversees the funeral of five people who died of the virus after July. This is more than half of his total business last month.

Despite his age, proximity to viral death, chronic lung disease, and recent COVID-19 attacks, 61-year-old Makaninchi had not yet been vaccinated when he recently spoke to a reporter. He initially said he was wary of how fast the shot would be developed. But then he decided that it took too long to wait for his decision.

“I should have done this already,” he said. “It’s time to bite the bullet.”

Vaccine development was unusually fast, but it was the culmination of many years of research. The vaccine has been administered to tens of millions of people for the past eight months without serious safety concerns since undergoing clinical trials in thousands of people.

Still, some people can’t shake.

In Hilliard, 3,100 towns in Nassau County, 80-year-old Francis Sims refuses to vaccinate. Long before COVID-19, Sims urged some grandchildren to be exempted on the basis of religious beliefs, fearing that the vaccine needed for school children could have harmful side effects. ..

Two of the Sims’ children persuaded her husband to be vaccinated after some members of her large family became ill with the coronavirus. But she is not upset.

“Some of them are a little worse with me,” she said. “They say,’Mom, if you get it, you might die,'” Sims said. “I trust the Lord to take care of me. If I die, it’s my time.”

Her son, Kenny Sims, a town council member in Hilliard, fell into a jab in the spring after his employer announced plans to reduce paid leave for workers exposed to the virus.

He is pleased with what he has done. When the summer surge struck, Sims and his wife had to take care of their grown-up son and daughter and their one-year-old grandson who caught the virus. He believes the vaccine prevented him and his wife from getting sick, but he’s still not convinced that the shot is completely safe.

“I don’t sell this vaccine as the answer,” said Kenny Sims. “But I think it’s the smaller of the two evils.”





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