DETROIT – The first COVID-19 vaccine could potentially be rolled out by mid-December, but local health system leaders voiced their concern Friday about recent polls that suggest people may be reluctant to get it.
In a briefing Friday, Henry Ford’s chief clinical officer Dr. Adnan Munkarah said addressing those concerns is a top priority.
“People ask me am if I’m going to take the vaccine, I’m going to say, ‘Absolutely, yes. The minute the FDA has us gives us the proof that there’s a vaccine that is effective and safe,’” Munkarah said.
The freezers are in place at five Henry Ford locations to store both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Procedures are ready to begin dispensing them to the highest risk frontline health care workers.
But there is a concern that many in the community will be hesitant to take the vaccine.
“We do not minimize the distrust that has been built over the past years, but also months with respect to COVID and how we’ve treated COVID,” Munkarah said. “We are going to go out there in the community and partner with the community partner with the leaders of the community to address the concern that exists there.”
Health officials are continuing to urge people to wear a mask, social distance and avoid gathering outside their household for the holidays.
“It is very hard to be facing a holiday season when we’re not able to sit together around the table to celebrate together,” Munkarah said. “We have seen people who have sat in the hospital and told us, ‘Please, do not Let me die. I was a fool by not wearing a mask, or by not socially distancing.’ These are real-life stories. We’ve lost lives. You’ve lost lives among friends, among staff, among community members among family members to COVID.”
Munkarah said there are no plans to mandate the vaccine for frontline workers at Henry Ford and they are relying on the science to be sufficient encouragement.
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