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Health care workers, first responders part of group that remain unvaccinated against COVID-19

Local 10 News asks some first responders, health care workers why since they are seeing COVID-19 first hand they choose to not get vaccinated?

MIAMI, Fla. – The push by community leaders to get people vaccinated couldn’t be stronger, yet shockingly, those that are not vaccinated are first responders and those in the healthcare system.

Among those refusing vaccination are 42 percent of Jackson Memorial Health System’s staff – people with a front-row seat to this month’s serious COVID-19 spike.

We ask a JMH staffer, a non-medical employee who is unvaccinated, why not get the vaccine?

He told us: “I don’t believe in a vaccine. I believe we’re not being told the truth.”

We ask him who was it that he didn’t think was being truthful.

“The government,” he responded.

Employees were unsure about going public by talking to Local 10 News. Some did share their “why not?” saying that they have heard mixed messages about the virus and the vaccine.

We asked another non-medical staff who is vaccinated if there are more people in the system deciding to get vaccinated now that there is another uptick in COVID-19 cases.

“Well, yes, yes. They kind of see some of us that actually took the vaccine and it’s giving them a confidence.”

Miami Dade County’s Mayor Danielle Cava Levine and others local leaders, including police chiefs, launched a public plea as South Florida COVID-19 admissions doubled and tripled in July with the majority of those unvaccinated against COVID-19.

“I cannot get in people’s heads,” Cava Levine said. “In any change strategy, there are always the people that are hardest to persuade, and we are definitely at that point.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has been firmly behind personal choice and against mandates, spoke out for vaccines on Wednesday.

“These vaccines are saving lives. If you are vaccinated, fully vaccinated, the chance of you getting seriously ill or dying from COVID is effectively zero,” he said.

Florida still remains a choice state without any vaccine mandate. Fire and police departments can’t ask first responders if they are vaccinated and the staff doesn’t have to say, but increasingly leaders at every local, state and federal are coming out with very strong messages. That message is that vaccines are safe and necessary, not only for individual health, but for the public good.

About the Authors:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local 10.com.