FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 20, 2021
CONTACT: Ryan Cantville, MD 954-292-6121
JACKSONVILLE, FL As a collective of medical and community providers, we are extremely concerned about the rapidly increasing rate of COVID infections in our community and substantial increase in hospitalizations primarily affecting the unvaccinated.
The Northeast Florida Pediatric Society, the Partnership for Child Health, and the Population Health Consortium of Northeast Florida would like to engage the community in a concerted effort to vaccinate youth and adults—as we face a new COVID-19 surge. Our region has among the highest positivity rates in the country—Florida accounts for nearly 20% of new COVID-19 infections and Duval County has among the highest positivity rates in the State.
With schools opening in less than one month, no current mask mandate in effect and limited virtual school options for families, it is crucial that we protect our children when they enter school.
Toward this end and consistent with some of the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics, we strongly support:
– vaccines for children 12 years of age and older,
– masks be mandated in schools—for all children and adults,
– requiring ALL teachers and staff working in schools to be vaccinated, and
– wearing masks indoors at all times including pre-schools and schools when they reopen.
As representatives of the pediatric medical community, we believe we must effectively educate our citizens about the importance and safety of the vaccine and mask use, the dangers of variants, and the risks of living under the false narrative of a post-COVID world.
Vaccination is safe and highly effective at preventing the vast majority of infections, serious complications, and deaths due to COVID. Many people are falling victim to misleading and negative information about the pandemic and vaccines.
We all want an end to this pandemic and we all want our children to be back in school and thriving as quickly as possible. It’s time for our citizens who have not been vaccinated, to be vaccinated — for yourself, for your family and for children throughout our community. Remember, the most powerful influencers for those who have not yet been vaccinated are people in the immediate family.
Please support us as we reach out to the community, both it’s citizens and leaders, to increase vaccinations and protect everyone.
Ryan Cantville, MD
Northeast Florida Pediatric Society
Bethany Atkins, MD
Partnership for Child Health