WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Local leaders continue to urge residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine as hospital systems struggle with the influx of patients.
Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner told WPTV's Michael Williams on To the Point that the pandemic is about the unvaccinated right now.
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"We are probably at the most challenging point that I have seen, and that this community has seen, during the COVID-19 pandemic," Kerner said.
Right now, 67 percent of residents over the age of 12 have received at least one dose of a vaccine. That is more than the state average.
Kerner said there is a small bright spot of the increase of cases -- more people are also getting vaccinated.
The mayor said in late June, the county was administering 7,000 vaccines a week. That number has now more than doubled.
"We've seen the impacts from a health perspective on our hospital systems, on our neighbors our friends, our loved ones. What has been the reaction from the community in terms of vaccinations? Well, we are now over 18,000 vaccinations per week, so it seems like the community is responding and understanding the real threat to COVID-19," Kerner said.
Patrick Franklin, the President and CEO of the Urban League of Palm Beach County, is doing his part to get more people vaccinated. He has spoken with the unvaccinated and says their reasoning varies from distrust of government to distrust in the vaccine.
"I've been campaigning for months now to advocate for taking the vaccine, especially in the Black community, and really talk about the issues and really educate people, try to make the awareness grow to a different level, but it's been a hard, hard sell," Franklin said.
Franklin said people who have survived COVID-19 have been helpful to encourage people to get the vaccine. He is also showing people facts about who is in the hospital and dying is helping.
"Let's talk about facts, and if we can put data like that in front of people and say, 'Please understand we are here to support you and your family to make sure you will survive COVID,'" Franklin added. "There is a lot of push back that we are getting is 'Yes, if I get vaccinated I can still get COVID,' Yes, that is true, but you won't die."
Franklin said he won't stop advocating for the vaccine until everyone is vaccinated.