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A group of around 75 South Florida doctors staged a demonstration on Monday to draw attention to the number of unvaccinated COVID-19 patients flooding their hospitals in Palm Beach County, Florida, MSNBC's Morning Joe reports.
The frustrated doctors want people to "ignore the nonsense and the absurdities that you're hearing people say at public meetings and recognize the value of what a vaccine will do," said Kerry Sanders, reporting on the ground in Florida. He added that 85 percent of the ICU beds in the state are full.
The protest comes as COVID continues to decimate the Gulf Coast, which has "relatively low rates of vaccination and often lax safety measures," The New York Times reports. Florida in particular now leads the nation in daily average cases and hospitalizations, per the Times. In the week beginning August 14, for instance, at least five South Florida police officers died after contracting the virus, writes CNN.
"It's incredibly frustrating because we know vaccines are safe and effective," said Dr. JT Snarski, one of Monday's demonstrating physicians. "And it's people who go out and talk against them that really go against physicians and medicine and science." She added, "It's not the message we want to get across to people. Vaccines are safe and we need to get our communities vaccinated."
On Monday, the FDA granted full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, an important step that officials hope will instill more confidence among those reluctant to get vaccinated.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect that the doctors staged a pre-shift pro-vaccine demonstration, not a walk-out during work hours, per Dr. Jennifer Buczyner, a neurologist who organized the event.