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Health News Florida

In Nassau County, Skeptics Reconsider Vaccines Amid COVID Surge

Nassau Fla COVID Shot
Frances Sims looks over a family photo at her home on Aug. 10, in Hilliard. Although some of her family members have been vaccinated, Sims remains unshaken in her decision not to get a coronavirus shot.

In this rural stretch of northeast Florida, nearly 4,400 were vaccinated in the three-week period ending Aug. 12, enough to increase the county's total vaccinations by nearly 11%.

A surge in coronavirus infections and hospitalizations that's pounding Florida is scaring some skeptics into rethinking their opposition to the vaccines.

In rural Nassau County, north of Jacksonville, newspaper columnist Roger West had written that he didn't trust the federal government and adamantly opposed the coronavirus shots.

"I do not trust Dr. Fauci, I do not trust the medical profession, nor the pharmaceutical giants," he wrote.

Then two friends got sick from the virus in mid-July, and another died. After prayer and pleas from relatives, he got his first dose of the Moderna vaccine.

"All of a sudden, it hit real close to home," he said.

Others are doing the same.

Florida Department of Health figures show vaccinations in Nassau County increased 8% in the two-week period ending Aug. 5. At the end of July, the county had the highest rate of new infections in Florida.

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