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COVID survivors share experiences to fight vaccine hesitancy

Posted at 6:48 PM, Apr 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-21 18:48:38-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The COVID-19 Education and Engagement Taskforce hopes to convince people to get vaccinated by showing them stories of people who have had to fight the virus from a hospital bed.

"The complications I had with COVID far outweighed the fear of taking the vaccination," said Harrison Smith.

From Harrison Smith to former NFL Player Tamarack Vanover, the group hoped to relay their own terrifying experiences over the radio Wednesday, they can convince more people to get vaccinated.

"They sent an ambulance for me to the big hospital where I ended up staying 12 days," said Vanover.

"These are survivors who came from life and death experiences. So our message is very important," said Taskforce member Pastor Greg James, who hosted the meeting. James said he wants to help change people's minds, especially minorities and males.

Right now, only 14 percent of the total number of people vaccinated in Leon County are African-American.

"I would rather take it and feel a sense of ease than not take it and get COVID. because that's more risky," said James.

Registered Nurse Pamela Simmons said she's seeing more college-aged students get sick now.

"The patients are getting younger. They're sick," said Simmons. "It's not like before when there was the elderly population."

This comes at a time when doctors all over the Capital City are seeing a dangerous dip in the interest in vaccines and getting tested for the virus.

"The demand for vaccinations has dropped off all over town," said Bond Community Health CEO Dr. Temple Robinson. "All of us are here to serve and here to get Leon County to community immunity so we can get back to our regular lives."

The task force is working with Bond Community Health to host a pop-up clinic this Saturday at Truth Gatherers Dream Center.