Metro Detroit frontline workers share their reasons for getting COVID vaccine

“If anyone could just walk one day in our shoes and see what we see, it would be no hesitancy.”

Local first responders share their reasons for getting the vaccine

Doctors, nurses and dispatchers have seen it all this past year. They’ve experienced a bit of everything -- some highs and lows.

Local 4 checked in with frontline workers now that vaccination efforts are underway.

“As a nurse, and even when I was a paramedic, I had never seen anything like this,” said Imana Minard, director of nursing at Beaumont Hospital in Farmington Hills. “What was so sad is people talking to you and 30 minutes later, they’re intubated.”

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“The information was coming at us so fast, it was frightening,” she added.

Minard has been on the frontlines since the first day and has seen more than her fair share of heartbreak. She received her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine in December and her second dose in January.

She is on a personal mission to find new ways to get the word out to essential workers, especially in minority and underserved communities, about the importance of getting vaccinated.

“There’s still that fear there that this is all political and that this is being forced upon us and it’s not,” she said. “If anyone could just walk one day in our shoes and see what we see, it would be no hesitancy.”

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While Minard did not hesitate for a moment about getting the vaccine, nurse manager Gary Taylor did.

“I was one of those people who initially had that mistrust,” Taylor said. “All I saw was there was confusion and there was panic. I guess it’s to be expected because it was something new and nobody had a clear path laid out on how to handle that situation.”

Taylor has diabetes and heart disease, and knows that based on those risk factors as well as his daily exposure on the job, he should have been first in line for the vaccine. But he wasn’t entirely convinced.

“I’d seen some people changing their mind. I’ve actually seen it grow slowly but it’s still growing to where people are becoming comfortable. It’s taking its time,” he said.

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Dr. Asha Shahjahan volunteers at vaccine drives, administering shots. She joined “This is Out Shot,” which is a national campaign preparing healthcare workers to dispel myths associated with the vaccine.

“Last year, at this time I was feeling very hopeless. I was feeling burnt out, I was feeling scared,” Shahjahan said. “But did I think a year from that time that we would be able to actually smile and say that we have a way out? I don’t think I thought that at that time.”

“Once we found out that a vaccine was available, it was a game changer. I was so excited and it was like whatever I can do to get people to feel like they can trust the vaccine, I was up for it,” she added. “And I think that is the only way we’re going to get out of this pandemic. So, I do see a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Minard, Taylor and Shahjahan each said they will continue to share their personal vaccination stories and encourage others to get the facts on the vaccine.

Watch full special here: ‘Coronavirus Crisis: The Vaccines’

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