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VP, Other Leaders Get Covid Shots, But Many Still Hesitant


Vice President Mike Pence received his Covid vaccine shot on Friday. Other high-profile people have that on their to-do lists.

The goal is to reassure Americans that the vaccine is safe. That message is playing out in the Northwest as well. Some are ambivalent about it.

When Governor Jay Inslee held a press conference recently to announce the Pfizer vaccine was on its way to Washington, he said this.

“I will receive this vaccine when it’s my turn to do so, regarding my age and health conditions and when it’s appropriate," Inslee said.

During the same event, Washington members of the west coast committee that reviewed the vaccine made the same vow.

“I believe, without any reservations, the benefits of this vaccine far exceed any risks. I do plan to get vaccinated as soon as I am eligible," said Washington state Health Officer Kathy Lofy.

“I can say absolutely without hesitation I am looking forward to being vaccinated as soon as I’m eligible to do so," said Seattle pediatrician John Dunn.

Their full-speed-ahead attitude, as scientists, is meant to overcome reservations held by people who don’t trust vaccines in general, or who worry that not enough is known about the side effects of these quickly-developed vaccines.

And then there are the deeper-seated reservations held by people such as Phil Tyler of Spokane.

“My angst, or trepidation, if you will, was for this particular virus as a Black man. It really stemmed from the speed of its production and the checkered relationship with the medical industry that Black Americans have had," he said.

Tyler mentions several cases in history where medical professionals used Black men and women and their body parts for their experiments, often without permission.

He is skeptical about recent attempts to allay fears about the vaccine by showing prominent Black medical professionals, such as Surgeon General Jerome Adams, taking the vaccine.

“Had they started a better media education campaign and educated us about how we are really trying to, because we know you’re disproportionately affected by this pandemic, this virus, we’re trying to educate you on that, not at the 12th hour, where then we parade out these Black Americans and say, look, we’re taking it, so so should you. It feels like they are diminishing the concerns that we have or are trying to erase the history," he said.

Tyler says he hasn’t yet made up his mind whether he will be vaccinated. He plans to continue to research the vaccines before he has to make that decision.

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