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A ruthless, unrelenting virus is the enemy

Our community’s strongest defense: vaccination.

Article Author: Guest Columnist

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Michael A. Mayo, DHA, FACHE, president and CEO of Baptist Health.

Northeast Florida has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s never been as bad as it is now. Baptist Health is seeing an all-time high of COVID-19 hospitalizations. Our hard-working health care workers have fought hard against this virus for more than a year. But this latest surge has led to a truly critical moment for our community.

Today, our number of COVID-positive patients surpassed 400, 18 of whom were children, from infants and school-age kids to teens and young adults. Though this figure changes daily, the percentage of unvaccinated patients has consistently stayed above 97% during this surge.

All adults and children 12 and older are eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Doing so will not only protect you from serious illness, but also your family, friends, children who are too young to receive the vaccine, and the entire community. Within Baptist Health, we are working hard to make vaccination appointments available to our team members to provide protection for both them and their patients.

The human cost of COVID-19 is real. According to a study recently published in The Lancet, more than 1.5 million children lost a primary or secondary caregiver to COVID-19.

I understand and respect that COVID-19 vaccination is a deeply personal and serious decision. There are no options without some degree of uncertainty or risk. My only request is that you ask questions, be informed, and make a decision that is best for you and the community.

There is a lot of misinformation out there, and it is our mission to be the voice of truth as you navigate this new frontier. We have an entire page on Juice dedicated to separating fact from fiction and providing the clear, concise information you need to know, like whether the vaccines affect fertility. Additionally, our COVID-19 vaccine information center has answers to common questions and resources to find a vaccination location near you.

If you have further questions, I encourage you to reach out to your primary care physician or your child’s pediatrician.

As a locally governed health system, we care deeply about the well-being of our Northeast Florida community. The patients who are fighting for their lives, and the brave heroes who care for them, are our neighbors, friends and family.

Let’s protect each other.


Michael A. Mayo, DHA, FACHE
President and CEO
Baptist Health

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