(JACKSON, Miss.) — A number of Jackson State leaders and employees who have taken the COVID-19 vaccine say it’s important to protect family, friends and others from the deadly virus that has claimed so many people throughout the nation.
In fact, as more vaccines become available, there’s been an uptick in the number of people getting inoculated; however, there’s still some resistance in minority communities due to distrust of the medical system, racism and health care disparities.
In late January, JSU President Thomas K. Hudson was among several educational leaders who received vaccinations at the Mississippi State Department of Health. The group aimed to encourage all state residents to do the same.
Since then, other JSU employees have stepped up to the plate.
Charles A. Smith, chief university photographer, said he wants to do all he can to prevent the spread of the disease to all the people he cares about. The procedure was “pain-free,” he said.
“I didn’t have any negative responses over the many weeks since I took the first shot,” said Smith, who has since taken the second dosage with just minor soreness at the injection spot.
“I feel protected, but I’m still going to continue wearing my mask,” Smith added. He urges everyone to take the vaccine and maintain safety precautions “until this thing is over with. Wear your mask and respect the space of others and have them to respect your space.”
Dr. Samuel Jones is director of JSU’s Health Center where COVID-19 tests are available for students, faculty and staff. He and his medical staff employees recently received their second dose in McComb.
Jones said, “The long-term side effects of having COVID-19 seem to be more common than the long-term side effects of any vaccines out there. For me, it’s simply safer to get the vaccine than the disease. It’s safer for my patients, too.
JSU staff nurse Jacqueline Martin said taking the vaccine was a selfless act.
“I was vaccinated for my family, friends, community, the JSU community and for humanity as a whole. I wanted to lead by example. I want to see our towns, cities, states, our nation, and this world healed of this dreadful pandemic. I believe it starts with me. And I want others to believe with me and start the healing process. This is why I was vaccinated against COVID-19.”
Dr. Elayne Hayes Anthony, chair of the Department of Journalism and Media Studies, said her decision to become inoculated was important because “there’s no cure for the coronavirus, and all we have is a vaccine.” She explained that she’s had people close to her who have passed away from the disease. “This has become personal.”
Anthony also said, “Now that the vaccines – Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson – are available, everyone needs to get one as soon as possible because they’re now becoming available to all age groups. We already have health-care disparities in the African American community, and data will show that we have more coronavirus deaths in our community than other groups of people.”
Although she has completed her second dose of Moderna, Anthony joined others who plan to still wear their masks and avoid large groups to make sure they and their families stay safe. “Continue to follow CDC protocols after being vaccinated,” she said.