COVID-19 vaccine still met with skepticism by some in SWFL despite scientific evidence

Seniors are trying everything they can to get inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine. But when the next wave opens, will the response be the same?

One Southwest Florida nurse says she won’t take the vaccine, no matter what. And that’s what millions of Americas are saying.

As many here in Southwest Florida spend hours on the computer, waiting in line, and on the phone trying to get this shot in the arm, Christine Dowell is not so eager.

She says she won’t do it, no matter what, because she doesn’t trust the vaccine. Despite scientific evidence showing FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.

She worries the first-of-its-kind mRNA vaccine was developed too quickly and would rather take her chances getting covid-19.

Dowell believes, “If you keep your immune system up, it’s like your wall of Jericho.”

Vaccine reluctance and misinformation worry  Dr. David Lindner, medical director of COVID-19 at NCH.

“I think that right now, while there’s a whole lot of people that are frustrated because they can’t get their hands on the vaccine, in a few months from now, we’re going to be having the exact opposite discussion, and we’re going to be dealing with the people who are reluctant to get the vaccine,” he explained.

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Collier County Medical Society President Dr. Rebekah Bernard has also seen skepticism about the vaccine, but she makes it clear that hesitancy is not among doctors.

“Physicians are overwhelmingly accepting of the COVID vaccine,” she explained. “When you hear it said that health care workers are not accepting at high numbers, that’s everyone as a group, and I have to tell you that physicians are extremely accepting and I would say there is really almost no physicians that I know – or very few – who are not eagerly excepting this vaccine.”

That still doesn’t sway Dowell.

when asked, is there anything that would convince you to take this vaccine?”

Her reply, “Nope.”

Dr. Lindner says reluctance like this on a large scale is concerning, “because ultimately, the only way we can get true herd immunity is going to be with vaccination.”

A reluctance by many that could ultimately stand in the way of ending the pandemic.

The Florida Department of Health – Collier is working on creating educational materials and dispelling myths about the vaccine.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said, “If we can get some more vaccine over the next few weeks, we could have all the seniors done hopefully sometime in early mid-march.”

Slow progress toward ending the now year-long pandemic.

Reporter:Rachel Cox-Rosen
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