Action News Jax Exclusive: US Surgeon General warns of COVID-19 cases as Florida remains a hot spot

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — In an exclusive interview with Action News Jax, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy is telling Floridians to go get the COVID-19 vaccine.

He says vaccines work — 99.5% of COVID deaths right now are happening among those who are not vaccinated, Murthy says.

The Florida Department of Health reports that just under half the people in Duval County are vaccinated against COVID-19.

“My message to people in Jacksonville is... we have a pathway out of this pandemic, and that’s vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate,” Murthy said.

He says vaccines take several weeks to work, so wearing masks will slow the spread in the meantime — something especially important for children under 12 who cannot get vaccinated yet.

“I’m optimistic that we may have a vaccine for them before the end of the year,” Murthy said.

As we wait for the vaccine to become available to children under 12, Murthy says they should be wearing masks in schools; it’s a key strategy to keeping students in class.

Murthy says he doesn’t think a nationwide lockdown is possible as the Delta outbreaks are very localized; he says they can be targeted with vaccinations.