A group of Florida doctors on Monday gathered outside a medical office to urge unvaccinated individuals to get the coronavirus vaccine as the delta variant has led to a statewide surge in COVID-19 cases.
Most of the more than 70 physicians at the gathering work for the Jupiter Medical Center and the Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center, The Palm Beach Post reported.
"It's the worst it's ever been right now," neurologist Robin Kass told the Post at the gathering. "And I just think that nobody realizes that."
The doctors appealed to the community they serve, asking the residents to believe the doctors who have taken care of them for years.
"If you identify with one of these doctors up here, we've cared for your family and you've listened to us then, the time really is now [to get vaccinated]," the organizer of the event, neurologist Jennifer Buczyner, said.
The gathering was made up of a variety of medical professionals including neurologists, emergency room doctors, plastic surgeons, infectious diseases experts and others, according to the local outlet.
Florida has seen COVID-19 cases rising since July, Johns Hopkins University data shows, with the number of cases and hospitalizations spiking in August.
Florida and other states across the country have had health care resources strained as the delta variant has spread faster than previous COVID-19 strains.
The state has 53 percent of its population fully vaccinated against the virus but has still begun postponing elective surgeries again due to the rise in cases straining resources.
"If you're having back pain ... or cancer removal, is that really elective?" David Lickstein, a plastic surgeon and the chief of surgery at Jupiter Medical Center, said.
Doctors around the country have been speaking out about the vaccine, detailing patients they have taken care of who have said they regretted not getting vaccinated.
The gathering of doctors in Florida took place hours before the Federal Drug Administration fully approved the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine.