A man hospitalized with COVID-19 told CBS he'd still rather be sick than get a shot - and it shows how hard it'll be to convince everyone to get vaccinated

·3 min read
A CBS screen shows Scott Roe, with tubes for supplemental oxygen, speaking from a hospital bed. The chyron reads: "Pandemic of the unvaccinated: Louisiana among Southern states hard-hit by Delta variant."
Scott Roe. CBS News
  • A Louisiana man hospitalized with COVID-19 told CBS he still wouldn't get vaccinated.

  • Scott Roe said he didn't regret not getting the vaccine and would rather be hospitalized than get it.

  • The sentiment shows the challenge of getting more people vaccinated and preventing the virus' spread.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

A Louisiana man who contracted COVID-19 and wound up hospitalized said he would rather be ill than get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

"Here I am recovering, getting out of here finally tomorrow. Am I going to get a vaccine? No," Scott Roe told CBS News as he lay in a bed getting supplemental oxygen at Our Lady of the Lake Medical Center in Baton Rouge.

The father and small-business owner recently caught COVID-19 and developed pneumonia, but he said he still would not have gotten vaccinated if that meant he could have prevented the infection.

"I would have gone through this, yes sir," Roe, who said he's a Republican, told CBS News' David Begnaud. "Don't shove it down my throat. That's what local, state, federal administration is trying to do - shove it down your throat."

When Begnaud asked what was being shoved, Roe said, "Their agenda is to get you vaccinated."

US health officials have deemed the coronavirus vaccines available in the country safe and effective.

Read more: The anti-vax movement is killing people, and the right-wing media is egging it on.

Each of the vaccines approved for emergency use in the US is effective in preventing COVID-19 - especially severe illness and death - and reduces the risk of people spreading the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But vaccine misinformation and hesitancy have caused vaccination rates to stall. Health officials and politicians have urged people to get vaccinated as the more contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus spreads.

Rochelle Walensky, the CDC director, said on Friday that 97% of COVID-19 hospitalizations were unvaccinated people.

"There is a message that is crystal clear: This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated," Walensky said.

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Louisiana is one of several states battling a surge of coronavirus cases fueled by the Delta variant circulating among unvaccinated people.

Our Lady of the Lake Medical Center has more COVID-19 patients than any other hospital in the state, CBS News reported, adding that it admitted 23 patients in 24 hours over the weekend.

Paula Johnson was another COVID-19 patient at the hospital. She's also unvaccinated.

"I have no comorbidities, nothing, never had a lung problem. Don't smoke, nothing. And it took my lungs and just ... I don't even know how to explain it," she told CBS News. "It's like trying to breathe in and hitting a wall in like a second."

Johnson, a pharmaceutical researcher, said she now wants to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

"I'd say get the vaccine, take the chance, it can't hurt, all it can do is alleviate some of the symptoms, even if it doesn't keep you from getting it - it will at least help you get through it," Johnson said.

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