As COVID-19 claimed more and more lives around the globe, many people waited several months for a vaccine to be developed and deployed. However, several others were not as ready to be inoculated. As doses started arriving in places around the world, “vaccine hesitancy” followed in tow. Several factors are tied to the reluctance to accept a COVID-19 vaccine, including complacency, convenience and confidence, among others. The truth is, there have been more than 46 million reported cases of COVID-19 and 754,000 deaths to date in the United States, and the battle against the pandemic isn’t over. Some patients at UF Health spoke candidly about their experiences with the disease, including the first one you’ll watch below in a story that demonstrates the power of conversation.
“Everyone’s like … ‘Why? What would make you do that? You’ve been, for a year and a half, saying absolutely not under no circumstances.’ And I said, ‘Because I shook a man’s hand, I can look him in the eye, and I knew with sincere conviction that he meant everything that he said.’” — Mark Hall
Ocala resident Mark Hall was on the fence about getting a COVID-19 vaccine until he bumped into UF Health’s Duane Mitchell, MD, PhD.
“I cannot describe to you how sick I got. When you get to the point where you cannot take a bath without being exhausted, a bath for God’s sake, you’re not digging a ditch...” — Johnny Sanders
Johnny Sanders, an unvaccinated COVID patient, describes how sick he got with COVID-19.
“I did not get my COVID vaccine. I was careless. I got very sick. I want to tell everybody that it’s a very dangerous disease. It kills people. It kills healthy people like me.” — Toni Peters
Toni Peters was unvaccinated when she got the disease but “100%” wishes that she’d gotten it before getting sick.
“I didn’t get the vaccine. I didn’t make it a priority. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it, it just wasn’t a priority. I didn’t think I could get this sick. And now my mindset has changed 100%.” — Richard Hardyman
Richard Hardyman talks about how he wasn’t against the vaccine but just didn’t feel the need for it before falling very ill.
“I thought the COVID wasn’t as bad as it was made out to be. Ended up losing a really good friend and a brother. Now I’m in the hospital fighting the same things that he was fighting with.” — Jeremy Simmons
Jeremy Simmons, 30 years old and needing surgery, explains how he doubted the seriousness of the disease.