Northeast Florida counties below national vaccination rate a contributing factor for COVID-19

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — As the Centers for Disease Control urges even fully-vaccinated Americans to wear masks indoors in COVID hot spots, a local doctor at UF Health blames vaccine hesitancy on high transmission rates.

UF Health Assistant Chief Medical Officer Dr. Chirag Patel says some local counties in Action News Jax’s viewing area are below the national vaccination rate of roughly 50 percent.

The Florida Department of Health released the vaccination rate for local counties between July 16 and 22:

  • Baker: 31%
  • Clay: 43%
  • Putnam: 38%

”Of every four COVID tests that are being done, one person is testing positive, that’s pretty staggering,” Patel said.

Patel blames vaccination hesitancy, saying long-lasting doubt over the safety of vaccines has been an issue -- even in pre-pandemic times.

Patel says the COVID-19 vaccine is safe.

”That doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been vetted by the FDA and studied for safety. If the FDA didn’t feel it was safe it wouldn’t have been granted that emergency use authorization,” he added.

Click here to read about another variant Patel wants you to know about, and if he thinks even fully-vaccinated people are at risk.

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