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Health experts in Jackson trying to inform community on COVID vaccination

Posted at 6:49 PM, Mar 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-19 18:49:58-04

JACKSON, Mich — Jackson residents are taking advantage of the COVID-19 vaccine. Health experts say additional doses are coming at the right time.

There have been close to 50 new Coronavirus cases a day in Jackson County over the past week, a significant increase from previous weeks. Overall there have been more than 9,700 total COVID-19 cases in the county and 220 deaths.

Medical professionals partnered with city officials to get the word out that getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is important. Experts answered questions about the vaccine at a virtual town hall on Thursday.

CVS Health Vaccine Efforts - Connecticut - LTC Facility
CVS Health Vaccine Efforts at The Reservoir long term care facility on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020, in Hartford, Conn. (Scott Eisen/CVS Health via AP Images)

"Some of the general questions are ones we have heard before," Michigan Health Network President and CEO Dr. Courtland Keteyian. "Can I get COVID from the vaccine? The answer to that is no."

Keteyian also said to wait two weeks after the second dose of the vaccine before loosening any restrictions.

"The Centers for Disease Control has updated their guidance to allow people to gather without masks that have been fully vaccinated. You can gather in single households if they've been vaccinated, but you still have to social distance and stay separated when you're in public."

Jackson Human Relations Commission Chair Cheryl Ragland said the goal of the virtual town hall was to promote community outreach and give facts and additional information to the community.

"Back in January, the percentage of numbers of African Americans being vaccinated was low at that time," Ragland said. "Those numbers have risen since then. We knew their would be some resistance in that demographic, so we were saying 'ok, let's get the information out there. Let the professionals, meaning the doctors communicate this information and answer any questions that the community may have."

So far, doctors have distributed more than 52,000 shots. Close to 38,000 have been first doses. Just over 19,000 have been second doses.

"If you have the chance to get a vaccine, any vaccine get it," Keteyian said. "They are all excellent vaccines. If you look at how the efficacy of these vaccines compare to other vaccines we have out on the market for other diseases things like the flu for instance. These are some of the most effective vaccines that have ever been developed, ever in history."

You can make appointments for vaccinations through your primary care physician who can put you right onto Henry Ford Allegiance Health's calendar, through the Jackson County Health Department, at the King Center, and at many local pharmacies.

“We’re getting better each day," Ragland said. "The King Center is starting to fill up because that word was out there. So, we’re really really pleased with the progress we’ve made.”

Starting Monday, any Michigander age 50 and up will be eligible.

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