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Some long-term care patients hesitant to take vaccine

People who live in long-term care are more susceptible to COVID-19 often due to other underlying medical conditions, a doctor said.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Despite 40 percent of all COVID-19 deaths stemming from long-term care facilities, some places say their residents are hesitant to take the soon-arriving vaccines.

"It's hard to hear some of my residents say, 'No, I don't I don't think I want this,'" said Theresa Putnam, owner of Patrick Manor in St. Petersburg.

RELATED: Pinellas County long-term care facility prepares for COVID-19 vaccines

She says of the people who've answered an internal survey, 80 percent want the vaccine but 20 percent refuse. Thirty-three percent still have not answered at all or are still undecided.

“Fortunately, this majority that has already answered, none of them had COVID. So, I'm not really sure if they're making the right decision,” she said. "I'm going to go and talk to them and just make sure that they're making the most informed decision that they can."

Dr. Michael Teng of the University of South Florida says those in long-term care are more susceptible to the virus often due to other underlying medical conditions, which COVID-19 can complicate.

"When they get infected, then they get more severe disease and they have to be hospitalized," he said.

Putnam says her facility has struggled with COVID-19 cases and deaths but has gotten the numbers under control—and she wants to keep it that way.

"We’ve got to stay serious about this because this means lives," she said. "I don't want them left out on a good opportunity that may protect their life."

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