Vaccine ‘might save your life,’ says commissioner who battled COVID-19

Miami-Dade Commissioner Joe Martinez speaks about his recovery from the virus as many line up for COVID-19 tests and vaccines Friday in South Florida.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Juan Vasquez and his wife arrived early at Tropical Park on Friday morning for a COVID-19 vaccine.

He said at first he was worried about the potential side effects of the shot, but as cases ramp up with the Delta variant, he took into consideration his job at a hotel.

“I was worried about the conditions of the virus outside,” he said.

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Joe Martinez is among the people who have tested positive for COVID-19 despite being vaccinated.

His message to those who have not gotten the shot?

“If you can get your vaccine, go ahead and get it,” Martinez said Friday at a bookbag giveaway event. “It’s free, it doesn’t cost you anything, and it might save your life.”

Infectious disease experts say that while you can still contract the virus if you’re vaccinated, you are not likely to suffer from the most serious symptoms.

Martinez tested positive over two weeks ago. Several of his family members went down to the Florida Keys for a vacation, and he believes that’s where when the virus spread among them.

“The main symptoms I had, the neck pain the headache, but the worst I had was the back pain right where the lungs are, and that’s what concerned me,” he said.

Some of Martinez’s family members remain hesitant to get the vaccine, he says.

“I’ve got two girls and none of them want the vaccine,” he said. “They are very concerned about the issues with fertility when they get older stuff like that. The truth is, there are no experts in this particular field at this time. Why? Because this is brand new.”

Dylan Skorish was among the growing number of people getting tested for COVID-19 on Thursday.

“I’m personally not worried about getting hyper sick from it,” he said in a testing line in Broward County.

Broward Mayor Steve Geller says that mindset has gotten South Florida back to a dangerous point, with COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations rising.

“Now it’s people in their 40s, 30s and 20s [getting infected],” Geller said. “Mostly 30s and 40s, because they’re not vaccinated.”

For information on where COVID-19 vaccines are available in South Florida, click here.

Local 10 News reporter Ian Margol contributed to this report.