PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) – Northwest Florida hospitals are continuing to fill up with COVID-19 patients and health leaders are trying to dispel myths about the vaccines.
“We are confident in the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines,” said Tom VanOsdol, President and CEO of Ascension Florida and Gulf Coast.
Ascension Sacred Heart put out a video on Facebook Wednesday to address myths about the vaccines.
“All vaccines require extensive research and closely monitored clinical trials to determine their effectiveness and safety and all of those essential steps were completed in the research and development of the approved COVID-19 vaccines,” VanOsdol said.
Ascension and Baptist Health have started restricting the number of visitors.
Baptist reports since July 1, 150 of their 178 COVID-19 patients were not vaccinated.
Hospitalizations at Pensacola’s three hospitals continue to climb among younger people. One month ago, just 36 people were in the hospital with COVID-19 in Escambia County and now it’s 242.
“COVID doesn’t care how old you are,” said Dr. Estrelita Redmon, Chief Clinical Officer for Ascension Florida and Gulf Coast. “While the elderly are at highest risk, we are seeing more very sick patients who are under 50.”
Sacred Heart is the only hospital in Northwest Florida that’s announced they are mandating vaccines for employees.
The vaccination rate remains low among residents. In Escambia County, 44 percent of the population is vaccinated. It’s 45 percent in Santa Rosa and Okaloosa counties.