WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – Like many health care professionals, Dr. Brian Legere believed the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines earlier this year was a turning point in the pandemic.
But with yet another resurgence of cases and deaths, primarily involving unvaccinated individuals, Legere bluntly expressed his frustration on Thursday in an eye-catching social media post.
“To all you who are unvaccinated by choice. F— YOU!!!” Legere, a physician with Coastal Pulmonary Medicine in Wilmington, wrote in a post on his personal Facebook page. He’d just rolled off a 7-day shift in the Intensive Care Unit, surrounded by more deaths which he said were completely preventable.
While he admits it may not have been his best piece of writing, Legere believes it accurately sums up what he and many others in his profession feel after seeing countless individuals who, for one reason or another, have refused to get the vaccine. He said he has watched people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, who were otherwise healthy, dying of COVID-19 and orphaning young children.
“I guess the time to be nice is over,” Legere said in an interview with sister station WECT. “You just kind of have to shake people and say, ‘look, if you can’t do it for society, do it for yourself.’ I don’t want anybody to die of this. They shouldn’t be dying of this.”
Vaccination rates have dipped after an initial surge in the spring, with many states removing mask and other coronavirus-related mandates following a dip in cases during the summer.
Now, with the delta variant driving higher case counts than the winter peak in many parts of the country, hospitals are again nearing capacity. In some cases, they’re even reaching or surpassing it.
“I feel bad for the person who is trying to figure out where to put everybody in the hospital,” Legere said. “It’s packed full.
“We’ve got extra ventilators, what we don’t have is extra people to take care of all these folks,” he continued. “So, the nurses are working, taking care of more patients than they normally would and I’m sure the ED is full, and then some of our people are getting sick… thankfully because they are vaccinated, they didn’t get that sick, but they did get sick.”
Legere also emphasized the human impact this virus has had on medical professionals who have seen the life-changing effects the virus has had.
“I think you don’t go into this profession; we deal with death all the time and if you let it get to us, we would’ve all been half-crazy years ago. You build up a pretty thick skin but there are other people that just don’t have that luxury,” Legere said of the nurses, respiratory therapists, and custodians caring for these patients day in and day out. “They are used to dealing with sick people, but just the volume and the intensity and everything is just way over the top and they are devastated.”
Speaking to misinformation about the vaccine, Legere didn’t mince words.
“There are some complete idiots who when shown death in the face will just cling to their crazy belief that it’s a conspiracy or they’re trying to use the vaccine to do mind control or whatever, or just some jack-ass theories. I think a lot of the patients, most of them have gone, ‘oh geez, I should’ve gotten the vaccine.’ But there are holdouts, even some of the ones who are dying, are like, ‘I still don’t believe this is a thing.’ How can you not believe this is a thing when you’re dying?”
Echoing many of his colleagues, Legere said the key to ending the pandemic is to get the vaccine.
“We can get back to normal,” Legere said. “The vaccine is not going to kill you. COVID is going to kill you.”
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