MIDLAND, Texas (Nexstar)- Critical Care physician Dr. Orlando Garner has been working throughout the pandemic and has watched many patients die from the virus. Now, he is urging everyone, even those who are young and healthy, to get the vaccine.
“The vaccine has been our greatest ally,” Garner said in a news conference Thursday.
And it has been an ally. In fact, the majority of those hospitalized, especially those in critical care, are unvaccinated, according to hospital data. Yet many remain hesitant or unwilling to get the vaccine.
“This hesitation of people to get the vaccine, which can be life saving and prevent families from being destroyed, is not being taken by the majority of the population,” Garner said.
Even now, as new variants have been impacting the younger population, hospital leaders say people remain unconvinced.
“We’ve seen the rise of new variants and we’ve started to see what were…grandparents, have now become husbands, wives, and sons and daughters that are filling our hospital beds,” he said.
Garner said he has had many hard conversations with young families amid the most recent surge.
“I’ve had so many unfortunate conversations with many family members that have told me they regretted not pushing their loved ones to get the vaccine. I’ve seen young wives telling me that their husbands told them they were healthy, they were young, they were not going to get this sick, and now, they’re on ventilators. I’ve seen daughters who told their elderly mothers not to get the vaccine, and now, they unfortunately passed away. Don’t allow this virus to destroy your family and your life,” Garner said.
“I don’t want to see more young people in the ICUs dying from COVID. I do not want to see any more families broken up…it’s very unfortunate when you have to sign death certificates for people who are your age…when you have to console young widows.”
Garner said even those who have battled the virus before should get vaccinated and that he and and his wife were both vaccinated after battling COVID-19 themselves. His young children, who were also sickened by the virus, are too young, but Garner says they will be vaccinated when they are eligible.
“One of the ways we can stop this is by getting the vaccine. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anybody, even people who have had COVID in the past, even people who are considered healthy, I would still urge that they get the vaccine.”
As of Thursday, hospital leaders said about 46% of those eligible in Midland have been fully vaccinated. If you would like to schedule your appointment, you may do so here.