‘It felt like I could relax a bit’: Spokane man goes from reluctant to vaccinated

SPOKANE, Wash. – Many people are waiting for things to go back to normal.

The vaccine is supposed to help pave that path forward, but it’s taking a while. There are still some people who are reluctant to get that shot.

“If you have fear and apprehension, it’s real,” said Phillip Tyler, a Spokane resident.

Tyler didn’t want to be one of the first people to get the COVID vaccine. He was afraid.

“I don’t want to be essentially a guinea pig, if you will, for the vaccine,” he told 4 News Now.

That’s a thought many others have, despite health experts assuring the vaccine is safe.

The COVID vaccine went through all the same trials as other vaccines did. The COVID vaccine was also approved for emergency use from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Previous vaccines had to get approval from the FDA, too.

“The scientists and the physicians, everybody that’s working on the vaccines is doing everything they can to make sure these are safe and effective,” said Dr. Gretchen LaSalle, with MultiCare.

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Trust in health care is tricky, especially for the Black community. In at least one instance in the past, some Black men have been tricked into trials, dying as a result.

“My personal reluctance was born out of historical information and collective and vicarious trauma. The medical history with African Americans, particularly, in our nation, is checkered at best,” Tyler said.

That changed, though, when Tyler talked to the people he trusted. He spoke with his sister, who is a nurse in the army, his mother-in-law who was a retired nurse manager, his pastor, and many more people.

Some of those he talked to looked like him, they were part of the Black community. They all shared their experiences with him in getting vaccinated. He also ended up doing his own research about the vaccine.

After all that, Tyler then wanted to be part of the solution.

“I don’t want to be the architect of my own or my people’s genocide. What I mean by that is, we’ve seen half a million Americans die, and we’ve seen disproportionately around Black Americans. So, I felt like if i didn’t take this vaccine at this point, I’d be doing just that,” he said.

So, Tyler ended up going out and getting his COVID shot. He’s now fully vaccinated and feeling a sense of relief.

“I felt like I could relax a bit. It felt like my shoulders dropped,” he told 4 News Now.

He’s happy to be one step closer to normalcy, and is hoping his story will help others understand the importance of vaccines, too.

As a man who once was hesitant to get the vaccine, he understands those fears people have.

“It’s real and we need to acknowledge people’s concerns and fears about that and listen to their concerns. Then, we can relay their fears by our lived experiences and information that is out there and readily available for them,” he said.

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