It’s one of the most famous lines in local commercial history.
“Git the shot! Git the Shot,” says a very sincere Maggie Thompson at the conclusion of the commercial sponsored by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. In it, she stares poignantly into the camera delivering her message about how safe as well as important the COVID-19 vaccine is to your health.
It’s a simple commercial, featuring only Thompson, who bucks the trend of most women by telling the audience exactly how old she is.
“I’m 72 years old and I got the shot,” says Thompson, who of course looks much younger than her proclaimed age.
The commercial was a natural for Thompson who’s been actively involved in planning and scheduling community-based vaccine clinics as part of the Wichita Black Nurses Association. When public vaccination clinics were just starting, Thompson was surprised to see how few Black people were at the site in downtown Wichita where she got her shot in downtown.
While she was there, she asked if Black persons were coming in to get their shots and she was told that Black participation was disappointingly low. With that information in hand, Thompson approached the Black nurses and Sedgwick County about sponsoring a vaccination clinic in Wichita’s core African American community.
Beyond the television commercial, Thompson’s likeness has been featured on mailers, print ads, billboards and even on the internet. The prominence of the commercial has turned Thompson into a local celebrity. Now, she’s regularly approached around town by people who recognize her.
“It’s just amazing. They’ll say, ‘aren’t you the lady that says git the shot,’ or ‘you’re the one on television,” says Thompson.
It’s her “git the shot” that seems to be the most memorable part of the commercial, but Thompson says, she actually didn’t say the line that way. The popular phrase was actually the result of the producers post production magic.
“I actually said, they just need to get the damn shot,” mused Thompson. Of course, the production team informed her expletives weren’t allowed in the commercial, but don’t worry, they could cut it out. The rest is video production history.
Thompsons says she liked the commercial from the first time she saw it. “Even though I looked like I had been doing the ugly cry.”
Thompsons says she became so emotional during the recording that she began to cry. Certainly, it’s this raw emotion and concern for the health of the community that comes across and makes the commercial so effective.
Throughout 2021, the Wichita Black Nurses have been one of the most active groups beyond the Health Department in vaccinating people in Wichita.