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Ability to vaccinate 5 year olds & up to be ‘critical’ in aiding pandemic resolution: Doctor

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Dr. Adrian Burrowes, Family Medicine Physician & CFP Physicians Group CEO, joins Yahoo Finance to discuss the latest on the coronavirus pandemic.

Video Transcript

JARED BLIKRE: New York City is bracing for a controversial vaccine mandate set to take effect-- excuse me-- set to take effect Friday evening. Up to 46,000 workers haven't been vaccinated as of last week. Protesters have already marched across the Brooklyn Bridge. And the city is bracing for potential outages in services on Friday.

But we want to get the medical perspective. And for that, we're going to bring into the stream Dr. Adrian Burrowes, family medicine physician and CFP Physician's Group CEO. Doctor, thank you for joining us here. What's your take on these vaccine mandates? They've gotten definitely politicized, but how necessary are they to achieving what we want as a successful resolution to this pandemic?

ADRIAN BURROWES: Yeah, so I understand all the public pushback, but when you're in a concentrated large city like New York City is, one of the cities that's had one of the biggest outbreaks we've had nationally, you have to take every precaution from a public health standpoint to protect the public, hence the vaccine mandates that you see. It's just the government trying to make sure they protect as many individuals as possible.

JARED BLIKRE: Well, we've also seen this take place. We've seen a lot of controversy over masks as well. There's one brewing in Florida. And in some locations where we have these mask mandates being challenged, and by the way, they're stripping salaries away from public service employees, some of these places are not densely populated per se as New York City is. On the mask mandate perspective, what do you advise here?

ADRIAN BURROWES: Yeah, so you know, I'm in the state of Florida. I'm practicing. We've had we-- just came through one of the largest surges of the delta variant nationwide. And so, I'm still in favor of the mask mandates. One of the things that we have to understand is that even with vaccination, you can still acquire and spread COVID.

Now it's true, once you're vaccinated, your risk of having severe symptoms, ICU stays, death is a lot smaller. So I encourage vaccination to everyone that is available. But a lot of the population is not vaccinated. And so how we protect the individuals most at risk is to continue to wear masks. And I'm in favor of that.

And one of the things that I hear a lot of is people complaining about the vaccine and the vaccine mandate. I'm in health care, and we're required to have a hepatitis B vaccination. No one questions that. They go get it, right? You don't get it, you don't work. I respect the individual's right to choose, but I also respect a small business or an industry decision to make masks and vaccines mandatory.

JARED BLIKRE: I have to say, I remember growing up, before I attended kindergarten, I had to get my mumps, my measles vaccination. And it was just understood, that's what you do. But I kind of want to stick with the younger generation here. We do have authorizations for younger children opening up here for vaccine use. How important is it to get the youth vaccinated at this point?

ADRIAN BURROWES: Yes, if you look at a lot of the data, you'll see that younger people, teenagers, small children, they've been responsible for a lot of transmission of coronavirus. And while a lot of people will argue that children tend to do fairly well when they are infected, they are the center point, a lot of the times, for the adult infections. A lot of children go to school. In our state, in my state, Florida, they're fighting the mask mandate, so a lot of the kids may not be wearing masks, infecting the teacher, who may be at higher risk, and putting that household, the teacher's household, and the teacher's life in jeopardy. So having the ability to vaccinate 5-year-olds and up will be critical in helping us to resolve this pandemic.

JARED BLIKRE: Well, and just sticking with vaccines here, booster shots also in play. They've received, I believe, an emergency use authorization in certain parts of the population here. Do you see, in your practice, people picking up these booster shots? And how important is it at this point in the pandemic?

ADRIAN BURROWES: Yeah, it's been great. So, in my practice, we-- I have all the vaccines currently in my office. And I treat a lot of people 65 and up, elderly people. And they're coming in, in droves to get their vaccines, which is wonderful. That's a high risk population. But I'm also starting to see finally a lot of people starting to get their initial vaccinations, either because it's being required by an employer or because they've been scared because they've had a family member or a loved one passed away from COVID. So, it's critical that we continue to try to increase the population's immunity with both COVID vaccination and the boosters.