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I knew there was a fierce debate at OpEdNews connected with Covid-19, how we should deal with it, and whether people ought to get vaccinated. But I thought it had essentially been settled when a respected member of the community moved on from the independent online publication. I also remember reading a long piece by Rob Kall, explaining in detail what had happened to lead up to the departure.
As a consequence of publication of my article, "DeSantis Hoisted on a Right-wing Petard," I've learned the debate continues at OpEdNews. So I'm writing this piece to give OpEdNews readers and editors the chance to read the entire email that I got Friday afternoon from the press shop at the Florida Department of Health. I quoted two paragraphs from the longer letter in my "Hoisted" article, which stated in simple, direct terms that the DeSantis administration went door to door to fight the pandemic, the Biden administration now wants to do that, and right-wing Republicans are kicking up a fuss now, apparently not knowing what DeSantis was up to in Florida.
So, below is the entire email, which shows Department of Health officials in the DeSantis administration believe the vaccines save lives. I happen to agree with them, although I concede I am not a health, medical or scientific expert. I simply trust the experts who speak to us in the media. I also trust local doctors who have assured me it is ok to get vaccinated. Of course, we do not know what will happen years from now.
But I weigh the possible long-term threat from new vaccines against statements made by mainstream experts. They are warning us that unvaccinated people comprise most of the people getting infected now due to the spread of the Delta variant. These Americans are also mostly the people who are dying, we are told. So, in a sense, the debate to me boils down to do we want to die now or die later if critics of the vaccine are right.
Here is the full email:
Florida is in a much better place than we were before the vaccine was deployed to protect Seniors First in December of last year . We have known the entirety of this pandemic that individuals over 65 are at the highest risk of severe illness. Having 84% of individuals 65+ and 74% of those 60-64 years old vaccinated protects our residents, especially our most vulnerable.
Since vaccinations were initially available in December 2020:
- Deaths in long-term care facilities have reduced by 97%.
- Cases in long-term care facilities have reduced by 91%.
- Deaths overall have reduced by 95%.
- Cases overall have reduced by 83%.
- Cases in individuals over 65 have decreased by 90%.
- Deaths in individuals over 65 have decreased by 95%.
Additionally, we've implemented innovative outreach solutions as a result of the Governor's dedication to protecting Floridians.
We were the first state to initiate large-scale canvassing campaigns in Miami, Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville. Our teams knocked on nearly 1.1 million doors over a span of just three months - March, April, and May.
Through this initiative, the State of Florida vaccine-outreach teams helped answer questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, assist individuals identify vaccination sites near them, and pre-register individuals for vaccine appointments through this strategy. The teams also distributed more than 516,000 informational material to Floridians across the state and canvassed in more than 2,100 neighborhoods.
The Division of Emergency Management launched specific campaigns in areas that were lacking vaccine rates, particularly in minority populations. At the Governor's direction, the Florida Division of Emergency Management and the Florida Department of Health identified places of worship and other locations in underserved communities to further distribute the COVID-19 vaccine. More than 169,000 vaccines were administered in partnership with places of worship.
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