We asked this: Are you vaccinated against COVID-19? Why? What helped you overcome any doubts? Do you encourage others to get vaccinated, and why? Here’s what they had to say:
Congressman Mark Green, R-Clarksville: In an interview with Clarksville Now, Green, who is also a physician, said he got the Pfizer vaccine after being convinced of its safety and effectiveness. “I thought the data showed incredible efficacy. You always have side effects, with vaccines and with any medical procedure. If you need a cardiac catheterization (for example), there’s the chance you could bleed to death, but you weigh those risk/benefit ratios. That’s why my advice to people has always been just talk to your doctor, and together the patient and the physician make the decision.” He said anyone with doubts should talk to their doctor. “People who are at risk, particularly the older population, unless they have a health reason not to get the vaccine, they should get the vaccine.” The safety profile of this vaccine is about the same as other vaccines, he said. “This is a safe vaccine, comparatively speaking. The risks clearly of getting COVID are higher than the risks of getting the vaccine.”
Green is part of the congressional GOP Doctors Caucus, which has been issuing public service announcements encouraging COVID-19 vaccination.
U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee: Blackburn said she received the COVID-19 vaccine. She said this in a video statement in March: “We are leading the way out of this recovery. Our economy is coming back, people are back at work, children are back in schools. … Take the time to do what I did: Set that appointment. Get that vaccination.”
State Sen. Bill Powers, R-Clarksville: “We have come a long way from last year. COVID-19 vaccines have not only saved lives, but given Tennesseans an opportunity to get back to normal. Both my wife and I have received our vaccines. In Tennessee, the COVID-19 vaccine is a personal health choice and I fully support the right of individuals to make that decision. At the same time, I do urge individuals to carefully weigh their risks and use sound judgment for the protection of themselves and their families. It could mean the difference in saving a life.”
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee: The governor issued this statements during a press briefing on April 27: “I got a vaccine. It’s safe. It’s the most effective way to manage our health, and more Tennesseans are doing that every day.” In a press conference on Thursday, he said this: “I think that we want to continue to encourage Tennesseans to get vaccinated. It’s the best tool that we have to manage the COVID health situation.”
Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts: “I got vaccinated as soon as I was eligible, and promptly got the second dose on the appointed day. I was convinced that getting the COVID vaccine would help protect me so I could focus on the needs of our community. I wanted to set a strong example and do my part to protect my family, friends and our entire community. Community leaders made a lot of hard decisions during various stages of the pandemic. We asked businesses to reduce their operations; we asked students, teachers and our employees to rearrange their schedules and sometimes to work and learn from home; we required masks and promoted handwashing and increased cleaning. With the world and our community facing such unprecedented challenges, I saw the rapid development and approval of effective vaccines as a true blessing, and the most significant tool available to help us move past the pandemic. For me, getting the shots was a matter of assessing risks and benefits, so after I made up my mind to get vaccinated and reap the benefits, it was easy to encourage others to get the vaccine.”
U.S. Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tennessee: Hagerty has previously said he got the COVID-19 vaccine. His office has issued this statement: “The best stimulus for Tennesseans is getting vaccine doses into arms so we can fully reopen the economy. The senator encourages all Tennesseans to get the vaccine.”
Maj. Gen. JP McGee, commanding general of Fort Campbell and 101st Airborne Division: “I am vaccinated against COVID-19. I received the vaccine to protect 101st soldiers, our units, and our families. What I’ve learned is that when it comes to the vaccine, one of two things is going to happen. You’re either going to get the vaccine or you’re going to get COVID – it’s your choice. I’ve seen enough soldiers and family members ill with COVID-19 and some still coping with its devastating effects to know that I don’t want to see another person contract this devastating virus. I absolutely encourage others to get the vaccine because it’s working. The vaccine has freed us from the scourge of COVID-19. Because Fort Campbell is more than 70 percent vaccinated, we’ve begun a virtuous cycle; we have fewer instances of isolation, more negative COVID tests, fewer hospitalizations, and our hospitals are not consuming resources caring for COVID patients. For those of us who are vaccinated, we’ve taken off our masks and we’ve learned how to gather safely again. Even as new variants of COVID-19 continue to emerge, the vaccine defense is proving effective. These positive outcomes stem directly from our Fort Campbell community deciding to get the vaccine and continuing to be vigilant. As a result, we were recently able to hold Week of the Eagles and look forward to the next event at Fort Campbell so we can further strengthen our ties with the surrounding community.”
State Rep. Jason Hodges, D-Clarksville: “I am proud to say that I am vaccinated against COVID-19. I never had any doubts about the safety or efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines because I trust the medical professionals and scientists who worked tirelessly to develop them. I strongly encourage everyone to get vaccinated, unless they have a legitimate medical condition that prevents them from safely doing so. We now know that unvaccinated individuals account for 99% of all recent COVID deaths. Tennessee is lagging behind other states with vaccinations, and we have to step it up. We owe it to our neighbors, especially the most vulnerable among us, to protect each other.”
If you still have concerns, ask your doctor whether you should get the COVID-19 vaccine.
COVID-19 vaccines are offered free at clinics and pharmacies across Montgomery County. The Health Department administers the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, which is a two-part vaccination, every weekday through July 30 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Moore Magnet Elementary School, 1350 Madison St. No appointment is needed, but to schedule one, or for more information, go to https://vaccinate.tn.gov/