‘It’s heart-wrenching:’ Front line worker says COVID patients are asking for vaccine

The impact of the COVID-19 surge is impacting hospitals across Central Florida, including Halifax Health. 

As for Friday, the hospital system said it had 122 COVID patients at its three locations in Volusia County, with 27 of them on ventilators.

Nurse practitioner Jeannine Waterman is helping care for about a third of those patients. She said many of them are asking for a request that’s too late.

"We are seeing pleas from people coming in asking if they can have the vaccine now, which is really heartbreaking," she said. 

Waterman said the current situation is taking a toll on staff. 

"[They’re] frustrated that we’re still dealing with this now and that we’ve had this heightened surge. We kind of were down to record low numbers at the beginning of the month, and now we’re at our highest we’ve ever been," she said. 

Halifax Health is now offering an incentive to help recruit more nurses. The hospital system is offering travel nurse pay without having to travel.

With a vast majority of patients being admitted unvaccinated, Waterman is asking for a change of heart.

"I think that’s our biggest plea right now is to please consider. In order for this to end, we have to do more," she said.