‘It’s the next step’


Their health.

Their loved ones.

Their community.

All those reasons surfaced as people discussed why they received COVID-19 vaccines recently at the West Michigan Vaccine Clinic at DeVos Place in downtown Grand Rapids.

They were among the thousands who rolled up their sleeves to receive a shot at the clinic that’s a collaboration between the Kent County Health Department, Spectrum Health and Mercy Health.

Some spoke of their longing to see loved ones after months of safety precautions aimed at stemming the spread of the virus.

“I really missed having our large, large Thanksgiving dinner at our house last year,” Lisa Rios said.

“I got the vaccine personally to keep myself safe and keep the community and people around me safe,” Kyanna Mosley said.

“I did it because I want to get to herd immunity as quick as possible,” Ethan Rios said. “The sooner we are there, the less people get hurt and the less people die.”

Others spoke of their support for the research behind the COVID-19 vaccines.

“This has gone through the process with a lot of scrutiny on it,” Esai Umenei said. “For me it’s the next step toward getting back to normal.”

“I got the vaccine because I think science is real,” Leah Mulder said.

She compared the COVID-19 pandemic to the polio outbreaks in the 1900s that caused paralysis and death.

“They needed (polio) eradicated, and they used a vaccine, like they are doing now,” she said, referring to the polio vaccine introduced in the 1950s.

“I believe in vaccines,” Kent Lavengood said. “I have been getting vaccinated my entire life. The smartest people I know are getting vaccinated, and they tell me I should get vaccinated.”

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