East Lansing councilmember encourages community to get COVID-19 vaccine

Published: Jan. 5, 2021 at 9:30 PM EST
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East Lansing’s newest city council member is trying to shift the narrative around the COVID-19 vaccine in her community.

By day, Dana Watson works in public health. By night, she sits on the East Lansing city council as one of the first Black council members.

Now, Watson is also one of the first to get a COVID-19 vaccination.

“It just felt like a poke,” said Watson.

But as easy as she says the process was, making the decision to get it was no easy choice.

“I was not an ‘I’m ready for the vaccination and let’s go get it.’ I was a ‘no I’m not going to get vaccinated,’” said Watson.

Black and Hispanic people are more likely to be infected hospitalized and die from COVID-19. But for a number of different reasons, many of them say they won’t get vaccinated when the time comes. A recent survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation revealed 35% of black adults surveyed said they would not get vaccinated. Watson says she can relate.

“I didn’t arrive at this decision in a day,” said Watson. “As an African American, historically, we have not been looked out for and that hesitancy was strong there.”

She says doing her own research helped change her perspective.

“Helping me understand how this vaccine came out as quickly as it did and being honest about what’s happening with side effects,” said Watson.

Now, she wants her community to see her get the shot and know that she trusts it.

“I believe that with the COVID-19 vaccine, history is not repeating itself for us,” she said. “I want people to know that there are some people out there like myself who did decide to get the vaccination.”

For those not there yet, Watson says that’s okay but encourages them to track her progress.

“We can see how it goes for me,” said Watson.

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