Coronavirus cases are surging across Florida, as the Delta variant becomes a growing public concern.
The Florida Department of Health reported 23,000 COVID-19 cases last week, an 8,000 increase over the previous week. The rate of positive cases also rose from 4 percent to 7.8 percent.
Officials said about 11 million Floridians — or close to 55 percent of the population — have already received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. But vaccinations in the state have steadily decreased over the past 10 weeks.
Health officials are concerned that the highly contagious Delta variant will soon become the dominant strain of COVID-19 spreading across the Sunshine State.
And yet, a number of Filipino-American Floridians are still hesitant to get vaccinated.
"I choose not to get the COVID-19 vaccine based on my personal belief that our body already has its natural immune system to all kinds of diseases and this COVID vaccine can only react to COVID bacteria and that this vaccine may paralyze or kill the natural defense that we already have," Gladys Bascos, a resident of Pensacola, said.
Arlene Benge, also from Pensacola added: "There wasn't enough time for them to do the research. To me, everything is just done in a rush. Although these scientists are very careful — don't get me wrong — in doing the research. They were very tedious in doing the research. But I just feel like the time spent is so short."
Despite her concerns, Benge is now considering getting vaccinated as the threat of the Delta variant grows.
"But the way it's going right now with the Delta virus being more vicious with the COVID-19 . . . The Delta virus is 50 percent more contagious, 50 percent stronger and faster when it comes to spreading the virus so I am contemplating on getting the vaccine now because of the nature of my work," she said.
"I don’t want to be the carrier even though I am not showing the symptoms which they call carrier or asymptomatic."
Even members of the Facebook group Florida Pinoy are divided over getting the vaccine.
A healthcare frontline worker said in a post that the vaccine requires more peer-reviewed research and studies.
A Filipino vaccine supporter, however, pointed out that people have two choices — immunity through infection with the possibility to get reinfected, or long-term immunity through vaccination.
Florida has recorded at least 2.4 million COVID-19 cases and close to 39,000 deaths since the pandemic began.