Orange County

Orange County officials working to fight misinformation to increase COVID-19 vaccinations rates

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — With COVID-19 cases on the rise again in Orange County, health leaders are trying to reach every person who has not been vaccinated yet.

“I hope that our citizens are listening,” Mayor Jerry Demings said.

READ: Delta variant cases on the rise in Orange County

Health Officer Dr. Raul Pino said the unvaccinated part of the population is made up of different types of people. Some of those won’t get the shot for religious reasons, others are wrapped up in politics.

“But there’s a huge segment of the population that has not been vaccinated that is just afraid because they have the wrong information,” Pino said.

READ: 2 Orlando locations looking for COVID-19 positive volunteers for virus treatment study

He said that misinformation is growing among the anti-vaxxer movement.

“It has been amplified by social media and the ability that people have to communicate through social media with someone in China, Mexico or Honduras with the same belief,” Pino said.

And he said the psychology behind getting vaccinated is complicated.

READ: ‘I don’t want her death to go in vain:’ Man encourages vaccinations after wife dies of COVID-19

“For example, we have been yearning for a prevention treatment for cancer for decades. We got it. It’s called the HPV vaccine,” Pino said.

Pino said the HPV vaccine prevents several cancers such as cervical, oral, esophageal, penial and anal.

READ: ‘Like COVID-19 on steroids’: Delta variant found in 47 states including Florida

Yet many people still irrationally worry a vaccine, the solution, might be worse for them than the problem.

That applies to both cancer and COVID-19.

“There are risks inherent to any medical procedure, but the risk of acquiring and dying from COVID-19 is a lot higher,” Pino said.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson,

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.