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Not Enough People Vaccinated to Stop COVID-19

By Kevin Watler, Public Information Officer

July 16, 2021

The Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County (DOH-Hillsborough) is encouraging those who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to get their vaccine as soon as possible. Cases are once again on the rise and the vast majority of severe cases and hospitalizations are among unvaccinated persons.

“By now we should have more people vaccinated and it’s very concerning that so many people have chosen to not get vaccinated,” said Dr. Douglas Holt, DOH-Hillsborough director. “The vaccine is safe, effective and widely available. Most doctors have gotten vaccinated. We’ve encouraged our own families to get vaccinated. Your life or the life of someone you care about could be saved by getting vaccinated. In Hillsborough, about 45 percent of the eligible population are fully vaccinated.”

Dr. Holt continued, “I’ve heard that many pregnant or nursing mothers fear getting vaccinated. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that pregnant and nursing mothers get vaccinated. The ACOG also “strongly recommends that all eligible persons receive a COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine series, depending on the product. Obstetrician-gynecologists and other women’s health care practitioners should lead by example by being vaccinated and encouraging eligible patients to be vaccinated as well.”

School will restart from summer break very soon, and Dr. Holt added, “The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends adolescents ages 12 and older get vaccinated against COVID-19. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its clinical guidance to allow COVID-19 vaccines to be administered at the same time as other routine vaccines. It is vitally important that these children get vaccinated prior to going back to school.”

While many things have gotten back to normal, Dr. Holt added, “In Hillsborough we have less than half of our population vaccinated and that has made an impact that saved countless lives. But we are not at the finish line yet and we need those who are unvaccinated or not yet fully vaccinated to help us win the battle against COVID-19.”

Dr. Holt ends, “The longer the virus has an opportunity to spread, the higher the chance for it to evolve and undo the success of the COVID-19 vaccine.”

There are more than 2,000 locations offering the COVID-19 vaccine. Find one here.

COVID-19 TESTING LOCATIONS THAT OFFER PCR

The following locations offer PCR testing, which is often required for international travel. These locations are not managed by the health department and the information may change at any time.

CVS - CVS will administer a test to those without insurance who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.

Quest Diagnostics - Testing is available at a variety of locations, including Walmart, Quest Patient Service Centers, and other pop-up sites. Appointments are required at all locations. Test locations available to you may vary based on your location and whether you have symptoms.

Walgreens - Free COVID-19 testing is available to patients ages 3+. If you receive a Diagnostic Test and have insurance, you will be asked to show your insurance card at the appointment and the lab may bill your insurer. You will not receive a bill from Walgreens or from any lab partner.

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