Florida nurses express mixed feelings about COVID-19 vaccine

Nurses working on the frontlines of the pandemic have mixed feelings about whether or not they would take the COVID-19 vaccine once it is released. 

Many of them told FOX 35 that they are hopeful but cautious because they know it takes years to develop a vaccine and pharmaceutical companies did it in just months. They want to see more data before making a decision.

For example, ICU nurse Lindsey Fairchild said that despite the vaccine being over 90 percent effective, she is apprehensive because there has not been enough time to determine the long-term effects. She knows that people will look to healthcare workers too for guidance and that, "if it means saving a life, then I'll be first in line to show this is what we need to do to protect our country."

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Fairchild added that nurses at the hospital she works at have been discussing the vaccine nonstop. Some are thrilled about the possibility of getting vaccinated but others, Fairchild explained, "if there were some stipulations that you're going to have to have this in order to work, you know, inside the hospital, that they would change careers really before they would agree."

The FDA's website said that everyone has the right to refuse a vaccine that receives emergency use authorization. At least one local hospital system -- Orlando Health -- told FOX 35 that they are not requiring employees to get the COVID-19 vaccines.

In addition, Governor Ron DeSantis said in a video statement last week COVID-19 vaccines would not be mandatory for any Florida citizen.

Some doctors are waiting for more data before they recommend the vaccine to their patients, while others believe the benefits outweigh the risks and encourage others to consider it.

Tune in to FOX 35 Orlando for the latest Central Florida news.