KANSAS CITY, Mo — Now that what medical experts are calling a safe and effective vaccine for COVID-19 has been developed and is being administered, the next hurdle is convincing people to take it.
“This is your opportunity to save a life,” said Cassid McCrite, Director of McCrite Plaza at Briarcliff Senior Living Center. “It’s not very often that you have that opportunity and it is the truth.
It’s the message McCrite is spreading to his staff and residents to try and reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect his residents, who are the most vulnerable to the virus.
“Some of us would get COVID-19 and maybe it’s minor, but the people that we care for and we take care of, it’s not like that. There is a higher risk for death,” McCrite said.
McCrite held an online question and answer session to compel those on the fence to take the vaccine when it is available. Dr. Ryan Sears and Dr. Reginald Fears are to of the doctors who participated in the Q and A. The most asked question was a concern, about how quickly the COVID-19 vaccine was developed.
“It’s hard to believe if you take a step back and kind of look at the historical context of it, that it was rushed,” Fears said.
Sears and Fears said that scientists had already built a foundation about how to combat coronaviruses, like SARS and MERS, so when COVID-19 came along they were not stating at ground zero. The fact the COVID-19 transmission rate is so high also helps.
“Most things we inoculate against, just aren’t that prevalent in our surrounding environment, so it takes a long time for us to find out if a vaccine is effective,” Sears said. “Unfortunately for COVID, since it’s so widespread right now, it’s a lot easier for us to find out very quickly whether vaccines are effective or not.”
Hesh Booker is a Line Cook at McCrite Plaza and didn’t want to take the COVID vaccine because of a compromised immune system. He suffers from high blood pressure, diabetes and has an irregular heartbeat. After finding out during the Q and A session that the COVID vaccine would not worsen his underlying health conditions, he changed his mind and has signed up to be vaccinated.
“I made a decision because of respect,” Booker said. “Respect for myself, respect for the people around me. and that made it easier. I mean, common sense isn’t so common sometimes.”
For any of its residents who did not participate in the Q and A, McCrite Plaza plaza has posted the session on YouTube.
While McCrite said he is relieved the vaccine is in use, he also feels an added amount of pressure to educate as many people as possible before the vaccine is available at his facility next week.