Saginaw County Health Department officials get COVID-19 vaccine on Facebook Live

SAGINAW, MI — This week has been a momentous one in the fight against COVID-19 as health care workers across mid-Michigan and the state have begun receiving the first doses of recently-approved COVID-19 vaccines.

On Friday, Dec. 18, two Saginaw County Health Department officials went a step further. Not only did they get their first shots, but Medical Director Dr. Delicia Pruitt and Health Officer Chris Harrington did it live via the Saginaw County Health Department-SCHD Facebook page. They wanted community members to see them get the shot to help calm their nerves and encourage them to get the vaccine when they’re able.

Pruitt, who is Black, spoke specifically to people of color.

“Before we get the shot, I want to just reach out to our Black and brown communities. Twenty-eight percent of Hispanic people said that they would be more likely to get the vaccine and 25{50531db320f8e8a316d79d6a285e47c71b6e4f6739df32858cb86474d7e720e9} of African Americans. And as you guys know, our Black and brown communities have been affected more from COVID-19, there’s been a disparity. And we’ve worked very hard in Saginaw County to close that disparity and our numbers look really good,” Pruitt said.

“I know that in the Black community there is a trust problem with our medical community and I understand it fully and I understand a lot of us are a little concerned about getting anything that the government makes because of that trust issue. So instead of trusting the government, I’m here to say, I’m going to get the vaccine so you can see us, the people you trust,” Pruitt said.

Related: Michigan effort to eliminate COVID-19 racial disparities working, state leaders say

Pruitt said she and Harrington will be back on Facebook Live Wednesday, Dec. 23, to talk about how they’re feeling and whether they experienced any side effects “so that you can know that this is a safe and trusted vaccine.”

They’ll both need a second shot in a few weeks to be protected from COVID-19.

Harrington characterized it as a “really exciting day at the health department.”

“The mood has been completely different for the staff here at the Saginaw County Health Department,” she said Friday. “Through our partnership with our Saginaw County Medical Control Authority, our first doses went out the door here at the health department and are being administered as we speak, right now, to our EMS providers in the Saginaw community.”

In addition, it’s critical that health department staff, who administer vaccines, receive the shot themselves, she said.

“It’s going to be really important for all of us to roll up our sleeves to get the vaccine.”

Pruitt reminded the public that even after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, it’s important that people continue to practice the “three Ws:” wash your hands, wear a mask, and watch your distance.

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