Wichita, KS, With Sedgwick County's coronavirus vaccine rollout plan in full swing, local residents have been flocking to Intrust Arena the past two weeks to receive their first dose.
County Health Director Adrienne Byrne said the process has gone smoothly to this point. The three-step process consists of pre-registration, checking in, and receiving the shot. The final phase of the process entails those receiving the vaccine to wait in an observation room for 15 minutes to be monitored for any adverse effects.
Wichita native Maurice Hardin was one of many who received their first dose last week at Intrust. Hardin discussed his experience with The Community Voice, echoing Byrne's sentiments.
"It was quick, it was easy, no fuss — it was good," he said. "The surprise was that it was so smooth. It was well put together, everybody was professional and polite. I can't ask for more than that."
Hardin was included in the first phase of the vaccine rollout, as he's considered a healthcare-associated worker, working with the mentally and physically disabled.
With suspicion swirling in the Black community about the vaccine, Hardin made clear he does not subscribe to that train of thought.
"I just feel it's another life-sustaining measure," he said. "I mean, you get the flu shot — why would you not get this? Anytime (the Black community) has been used for any other agent that's come around — why wouldn't you just take this one voluntarily to save your own life? It just makes common sense."
Added Hardin: "You'd much rather take two minutes getting the shot, than 30 days on a respirator."
Hardin said he's had family members indicate they won't be getting the shot when it is more widely available. He added that it's not his job to change any minds, as far as an in-depth sales pitch.
"I'm not going to try to save your life, if you don't want to save your life," he said. "That's just not what I'm going to do. I'm going to give you the facts about it. It's for your own good, it's for your kid's good, and your family. Either you do or you don't — it's that simple."
Hardin said he has not to this point tested positive for COVID-19, but that he has lost friends to the virus.
"It's absolutely crazy, it's been devastating," he said. "When you have somebody in the hospital you can't go and see because of this, it just shakes you up."
Hardin also disagrees with individuals choosing not to wear masks in public.
"Anybody not wearing a mask at this point in time is just stupid," he said. "I don't mince words about it, they're just stupid."
Shortly after emerging from Intrust, another local resident said she was nervous about the process.
"Yes, absolutely I was nervous, I was kind of scared a little bit," said the woman, a local dental assistant who wished to remain anonymous.
The woman replied "rumors" related to the vaccine are what most concerned her.
"The aftermath, the long-term effects," she said of the vaccine, without further elaborating. "But I'm smart to find that information on my own, and don't listen to the rumors and myths."
The woman, however, was in agreement with Hardin, that the process was "very smooth."