TAMPA (WFLA) – The Florida Hospital Association and Florida Medical Associations are urging the unvaccinated to get their shots now and they’re doing it with an emotional plea from nurses on the frontlines in the fight against COVID-19.
According to the FHA,16,973 patients are hospitalized in Florida with COVID-19, the most ever during the pandemic that began in March 2020.
“The overwhelming majority of the people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in Florida are unvaccinated,” said Mary C. Mayhew, the president and CEO of the Florida Hospital Association. “The delta variant is ravaging younger and unvaccinated people. If you don’t think this could happen to you, listen to one of our nurses sadly recall the passing of a young woman in her 30s who left behind a husband and three young children.”
“We’re still in the same circumstances we were when there wasn’t a vaccine. Where you’re watching people just pass away,” ICU COVID-19 nurse Juana Diaz said in the PSA called “Mommy.” “She left her husband and three little kids, ages 4, 2, 8. They’re saying, ‘Mommy, come home. Mommy, I miss you.’ She’s not saying anything because she’s intubated.”
Last week’s Florida Department of Health report showed the virus is claiming younger victims.
Thirty-six percent of the more than a thousand deaths reported occurred in the under 65 population compared to 17 percent the same week during last summer’s COVID surge.
“Young people may think they are invincible, but there are many after-effects of getting COVID-19 that physicians are seeing having an impact on their younger, unvaccinated patients,” said Doug Murphy Jr., MD, the president of the Florida Medical Association. “Long-term health concerns shouldn’t be a lifetime sentence for those who took a chance in not getting the vaccine. Don’t take that chance. Get vaccinated.”
Two weeks ago, the chief medical officer for Lakeland Regional Health made a similar plea to the unvaccinated.
“This is what is sad,” Dr. Timothy Regan said. “We are bringing 8 and 10 year olds to the bedside of their parents to say their last goodbyes.”
Lakeland Regional Health reports that more than 400 patients are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, compared to 180 during the previous peak in January.
The new PSA from Florida’s two largest health organizations ends with: “Get your lifesaving vaccine at floridahealthcovid19.gov.”
The Florida DOH will release its weekly COVID-19 report on Friday, which breaks down deaths by age.
The CDC is reporting on Thursday an additional 799 deaths in Florida, bringing the total during the pandemic to nearly 42,000.