Sebastian Doctor Discusses COVID-19 Vaccine, Hospitalizations, and Deaths

Dr. Michael Venazio
Dr. Michael Venazio

Dr. Michael Venazio, an Internal Medicine Specialist in Sebastian, said there were approximately 15 local COVID-19 hospice deaths in the past few days, all from the COVID-19 virus.

“I admitted 5 more to hospice with COVID today. The hospitals are now at 48% COVID patients. People being doubled up in single rooms. Out of the 67 counties in Florida, my county is not even in the top 50 for most COVID cases per 100,000 people, and we are drowning in patients. Please help turn this tide,” Dr. Venazio said in a statement.

In Sebastian, getting vaccinated has been political or worrisome about the unknown, which we discussed in our recent COVID-19 editorial. Venazio said the focus should be on getting everyone vaccinated.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Guess we’ve all forgotten that,” he said.

Venazio also understands if people have questions, and they have every reason to be scared or hesitant about getting the shot.

“If people weren’t afraid of the unknown, they wouldn’t be human. I don’t listen to the politician when I need someone to fix my car, and I don’t tell the mechanic I know more than him when he tells me how to fix it,” he said.

Currently, in Indian River County, only half the population is vaccinated. 

“I sign 10-20 death certificates a day. The other day, over half of them were COVID deaths; exactly 0 were vaccinated,” Venazio said.

But there are people in Indian River County who are not eligible for the vaccine. The doctor has some advice for them.

“If you’re immunocompromised and you can’t get the vaccine, then you should wear an N95 when you are out and limit your contact with people until this is better controlled,” Venazio said.

It’s another popular misinformation campaign, a lie, and people are misled to believe such nonsense. Some politicians who hope to win a local election are deceiving people to get votes, and, sadly, they are using this crisis to mislead the people in Sebastian and other cities.

Taking the vaccine does not make your skin magnetic. None of that is true, according to credible reports by ForbesMiami Herald, and Reuters. Even the science publication Wired chimed in and said the vaccine contains no magnets, chips, or metals.

There is also a popular myth that the vaccine was created quickly, which is also not true. It was 20 years in the making and tweaked last year to fight against COVID-19.

Also, the vaccine does not affect fertility.

Booster Shots

The same conspiracy theorists are again misleading people on social media by telling them that since the vaccine didn’t work, the government is requiring a “booster shot.”

“I have to laugh when I see a post about needing a booster that insinuates that it’s somehow the vaccine’s fault or that the vaccine doesn’t work. It clearly shows me that the person knows nothing about immunology. I guess they forget that the MMR, Hepatitis, Chicken Pox, Shingles, and Polio vaccines are all multiple shots. The Tetanus shot is supposed to be given every 10 years or that the Pneumovax was initially thought to be needed every year and was then changed to every 5 years and ultimately to once in a lifetime if you don’t have certain comorbidities. Our immune system needs refreshers, sort of like when we study for a final and have to be reminded of the things we learned at the beginning of the semester,” Venazio said. 

But what if we need a shot every year or once every 10 years? How do we know?

“I don’t know what it’s going to be like at this point. I’m not sure anyone does. It could be like those, could be like the pneumonia vaccine that started off every year and then changed as we learned. I’m unsure why learning has to be a conspiracy. If it ends up every year, then it ends up every year. That’s life. You go with what it gives you,” Venazio explained.

Losing Constitutional Rights Over Vaccine

Many people in Sebastian and Vero Beach will not take the vaccine. They feel the government wants to control everyone. They say once the government mandates something, then something will be next. They fear the loss of constitutional rights and basically say, “my body, my choice” or “we will not comply!”

They don’t want the government forcing them to do anything and say it’s their freedom of choice not to get the vaccine. So, what does Dr. Venazio say about that?

“It is about public health. Not a vaccine or a choice. It’s about our health care system not collapsing. It’s about people who shouldn’t be dying, not dying. It’s about standing up for one another the way we have done on the battlefield for 200+ years,” Venazio said.

Get the Vaccine

Medical providers are asking everyone to get vaccinated to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. 

“Medical providers are asking you to be brave and unselfish by getting a vaccine to help protect people and save lives. Every day our police officers go on shift and put their lives on the line to protect people and save lives. Over 99.9% of those shifts are completed safely, and, thankfully, those officers return home to their families. They are heroes daily. Please try to find it in your heart to be a hero as well. Help us protect and save,” Venazio said.

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About Andy Hodges
Andy Hodges was born in Annapolis, Maryland, and raised in Jupiter, Florida. He has been a radio and TV personality since the mid-1980s. He has worked for WFLX-TV (Fox 29), WIRK, WLIZ, WIXI, WKSY, WRMF, and others. In 1994, Andy took a break from broadcasting and was a software and systems engineer for various companies in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2002, he moved back to Florida and settled in Sebastian, where Andy's family has lived for over 45 years. He returned to the broadcasting sector in 2005. Andy joined Sebastian Daily as our editor-in-chief in 2016.