Amid new virus surge, skeptics reconsider shots
In a rural stretch of northeastern Florida where barely half the people have gotten a coronavirus shot, Roger West had no problem telling others he was “adamantly antivaccination.”
The co-owner of the Westside Journal weekly newspaper used his voice as a columnist to widely share his doubts about the vaccine and his mistrust of the health experts in the U.S. who have been urging everyone to get it.
“I do not trust the Federal Government,” West wrote recently. “I do not trust Dr. Fauci, I do not trust the medical profession, nor the pharmaceutical giants.”
But something happened to change his mind: Two of West’s close friends became ill with the virus, and a third died. Rattled and stressed, he prayed for guidance. Then, when his mother and another relative both urged him to get vaccinated, he took it as a sign from God. West drove to the Winn Dixie supermarket and rolled up his sleeve for the first of two injections of the Moderna vaccine.
“All of a sudden, it hit real close to home,” he said.