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Beaumont nurse describes overcoming own hesitancy to get vaccinated

Posted at 11:04 PM, Apr 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-19 23:29:25-04

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. (WXYZ) — Within just five months, Beaumont hospitals have administered more than 280,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine with new appointments still filling up.

“My phone, it never stops ringing," said Director of Nursing at Beaumont Farmington Hills Jessica Richards. "I never stop getting emails, people want the vaccine.”

Richards is behind the vaccination effort at Beaumont Farmington Hills. They started vaccinating just employees back in December, and that effort is still underway.

“With the employees, it was a bit difficult,” Richards said. “We’re still vaccinating quite a few employees right now because not everyone was able to get it, or wanted to get it.”

Throughout Beaumont Health System 63% of employees have been vaccinated, up from 61% last week. All have been offered the vaccine, but many have declined to take it.

One of those employees initially hesitant was Nurse Assistant Anitra Alexander.

“I was very hesitant of it, because the history of my community,” Alexander said. "My family and friends were just like, why get it? Don’t do that, don’t put that in you.”

Anitra, who is Black, says there’s a lot of mistrust in the Black community. However, after months of treating COVID patients on the front lines, she decided to get it. Now she's working to get others vaccinated as well.

“I talk to people, I tell them what I’ve seen, I've seen people die. I've seen people very sick,” Alexander said. "I convinced my father to get it. My mother is a little bit hesitant, but we’re getting there.”

As she works to get her own family vaccinated. Alexander feels getting to that 70% mark won’t be easy and will take time.

“It may be a long way to get there," Alexander said. "A lot of people, they just aren't going to get it in the Black community.”

Richards says the hospital continues to promote the safety of the vaccines, and the next step for the public is providing more access. She hopes over time, more people will sign up.

“It needs to be not just even as local as the Rite Aid, it needs to be right in their backyard," Richards said. "I think once you see that you’ll start seeing more people getting vaccinated.”

Just a week ago, the percentage of Beaumont employees vaccinated was 61. Today, it’s 63%, so more people are choosing to get it. However, it is taking time.