An associate professor from Central Michigan University believes there is a link to Michigan residents being hesitant in getting the COVID-19 vaccine and their experiences with public health authorities during the water crisis.
Cedric Taylor, associate sociology professor at CMU, did a study showing substantial concern over vaccine safety combined with a severe lack of trust in public health authorities continues thwarting attempts to achieve herd immunity through vaccination.
“Folks who didn’t live in the city of Flint or didn’t live in Genesee County were nonetheless affected by what they saw,” Taylor said.
Of 1,025 people surveyed, one in three from Detroit and Flint said they definitely will not get the vaccine. More than six in 10 Detroit and Flint respondents said they do not think the COVID-19 vaccine is safe. Nearly half falsely believed you can get COVID-19 from the vaccine.
“The Flint water crisis did damage faith in science, officials, public officials, generally a lack of trust in various institutions,” Taylor said.
The perception is public health officials lied about the water and they are likely to lie again about the vaccine.
In an effort to get more residents vaccinated, the Genesee County Health Department is offering free COVID-19 vaccines at the Flint Miller Road McDonald’s restaurant from Thursday, July 8 through Saturday, July 10 for ages 12 and older. No prior registration is required to get a vaccine.
“Incredibly important. We know that the biggest way we can mitigate the spread of COVID-19 is to get individuals vaccinated. We in Genesee County are just over that 50 percent threshold. We are having a goal to get folks to 70 percent of our community vaccinated,” Genesee County Commissioner Domonique Clemons said.