Shot or no shot? Area leaders weigh in on COVID vaccine

Photo by Hakan Nural on Unsplash

COVID-19 vaccines are now accessible for everyone and more and more people have decided to receive the shot to allow the country and the world to return to “normal”. According to the CDC, 216 million people in the U.S. have received at least one shot and everyone who is 12 years of age and older is now eligible to get one at no charge. Some of those 216 million are the ones who lead our communities — our government leaders. 

We asked area government leaders if they’ve received the vaccine and, if they did, why they got it, and their thoughts on the subject to share with the public.

Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukewicz
Have you received the COVID Vaccine? Yes.
If so, why have you? If not, what are your reasons? It was important for me to get the vaccine as soon as possible to protect myself, my family, friends, and all those who I work with.
Do you feel vaccines are important? What about the COVID vaccine? To the contrary, why do you think vaccines are not safe? Absolutely, this is one of the most important things we need to do. The pandemic has been incredibly challenging and we can overcome that through vaccinations for all.
If you were to tell the public one thing about the vaccines and the COVID vaccine, what would you say? Trust the science and trust reliable sources. Get the COVID-19 vaccine to protect yourself and your family, and help end the pandemic. 

Findlay Mayor Christina Muryn
Have you received the COVID Vaccine? Yes! I was excited to get my vaccine as soon as I was eligible. As a public figure and a leader, I felt it was important to get my shot in public to improve public trust in our public health service and the vaccine.
If so, why have you? If not, what are your reasons? After thorough research, multiple discussions with local and national health experts and even attending the White House Vaccine Summit I felt comfortable getting this vaccine to protect myself and community from the COVID-19 Virus. I fully recognize that getting the vaccine is a personal choice. I would urge everyone to objectively do the research, talk to their doctor, and weigh the risk to benefit of getting the vaccine. This is a serious threat not only to our health and well-being but to our economy as well, and it is well worth our time to help the emergent situation. I also believe it is one of our civic responsibilities to help protect others.
Do you feel vaccines are important? What about the COVID vaccine? To the contrary, why do you think vaccines are not safe? I have historically not been a big vaccine person. I was raised not getting vaccines and only begun getting them in high school. I do believe they are extremely important especially with viruses that have such profound negative health impacts. They help rid our communities of disease and teach our bodies how to fight off new viruses we come into contact with. Prior to their development people died painfully, mostly in infancy or childhood,  from diseases such as tuberculosis, pleurisy, typhus, tonsillitis, cholera and dysentery. With a lack of medical understanding of these ailments, a common treatment was bloodletting. The new mRNA technology is truly incredible, and I cannot wait to see how it revolutionizes vaccines in the future. The COVID vaccine surpassed all expectations by being safe and highly effective in preventing serious illness and death.
If you were to tell the public one thing about the vaccines and the COVID vaccine, what would you say? Please get vaccinated. I know there is hesitancy and I get that but this is one of the safest, highest efficacy, and perhaps most important vaccine many of us will see in our lifetime. Do it to protect yourself, your family, and our economy. Vaccine is our best strategy to end this pandemic.

Perrysburg Mayor Tom Mackin
Have you received the COVID Vaccine?  ​Yes.
If so, why have you? If not, what are your reasons?  ​COVID is a serious illness. It was a cause of death of a city employee. When vaccines became available, I waited until I was eligible and then got vaccinated.
Do you feel vaccines are important? What about the COVID vaccine? To the contrary, why do you think vaccines are not safe?  ​Yes, vaccines are important. Polio, small box, measles, and mump vaccines are examples of vaccines that save lives. Vaccines save lives.  The same with the COVID vaccine.
If you were to tell the public one thing about the vaccines and the COVID vaccine, what would you say?  ​Get vaccinated. If you have doubts, talk with your doctor and listen to the recommendation. 

Sylvania Mayor Craig A. Stough
Have you received the COVID Vaccine? Yes, the Moderna vaccination at Flower Hospital in the spring.
If so, why have you? If not, what are your reasons? To do my part protecting my family, my community and myself from COVID infection.
Do you feel vaccines are important? What about the COVID vaccine? To the contrary, why do you think vaccines are not safe? Vaccines are important to protect us from disease.  We are fortunate to live in a time when advances in science have made them available to us.  I remember getting the polio vaccine in elementary school, and still have my vaccine records booklet kept by my mother.  I always get my flu shots and others, like the shingles vaccine, and made sure my children got theirs as they grew up. I am not aware of any side effects any of us have suffered.
If you were to tell the public one thing about the vaccines and the COVID vaccine, what would you say? That’s easy – get the vaccines and protect yourself and your family. Don’t let politics get in the way of protecting your family.

Toledo City Council Member, At Large Rob Ludeman
Have you received the COVID Vaccine? I received both Moderna shots in February and March.
If so, why have you? If not, what are your reasons? I feel it is the responsible thing to do for myself, my family and friends, and the public in general.  It is not about personal freedoms it is about NOT hurting others by inaction.
Do you feel vaccines are important? What about the COVID vaccine? To the contrary, why do you think vaccines are not safe? Vaccines are extremely important.  At my Physician’s request I also had a pneumonia vaccine in November. I remember lining up years ago with my wife, Elaine, to get the Swine Flu Vaccine. I am sure the vaccine at that time saved a lot of lives and misery, as well as extreme hospital costs.
If you were to tell the public one thing about the vaccines and the COVID vaccine, what would you say? I would tell people to do the responsible thing and get the COVID Vaccines. Everyone in my family did the RIGHT thing and got vaccinated. At the very least do it for those under the age of 12 who cannot get the vaccines.

Toledo City Council Member Vanice Williams
Have you received the COVID Vaccine? Yes, on St. Patrick’s Day, the Johnson and Johnson shot.
If so, why have you? If not, what are your reasons? I wanted to protect myself and the people around me.
Do you feel vaccines are important? What about the COVID vaccine? To the contrary, why do you think vaccines are not safe? I feel vaccines prevent major illnesses from overriding our society and especially in lower to moderate income, minority neighborhoods.
If you were to tell the public one thing about the vaccines and the COVID vaccine, what would you say? Do your own research and review your medical history to make an educated decision. Don’t do what other are or are not but what is best for the people you love and yourself.

Toledo City Council Member, At Large Dr. Tiffany Preston-Whitman
Have you received the COVID Vaccine? Yes, I received the COVID Vaccine.
If so, why have you? If not, what are your reasons? Primarily to protect the health of myself, my family, and community.
Do you feel vaccines are important? What about the COVID vaccine? To the contrary, why do you think vaccines are not safe? I believe the health of individuals and communities, in general, are important. As a Councilmember, I have passed legislation and been a vocal advocate for prioritizing public health. Vaccines are critical to public health. Vaccines provide a significant boost in protection for large populations. However, we do need more private and public funding to ensure we have more research/data on the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines.
If you were to tell the public one thing about the vaccines and the COVID vaccine, what would you say? I would urge everyone to get vaccinated for their families and the future of our city.

Toledo City Council Member Nick Komives
Have you received the COVID Vaccine? I did, enthusiastically.
If so, why have you? If not, what are your reasons? Because I would like to not only protect myself, but those that are around me.
Do you feel vaccines are important? What about the COVID vaccine? To the contrary, why do you think vaccines are not safe? In my lifetime, I’m not certain how many vaccines I’ve received. However, I have received many, which is why I don’t have measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus and others. And I believe that it is not only lifesaving but crucial that we do that for ourselves and others, and I think the same way I do about those that I do about COVID-19. I think it seems more pressing right now than those other ones might, because the other ones felt very compulsory, and many of us got them without even thinking about it. And now, suddenly there seems to be a different mentality around the COVID-19 vaccine. But I feel like people that lived during the Spanish Flu of 1919 would have appreciated the quickness with which our vaccine was produced. So enthusiastically I received the vaccine.
If you were to tell the public one thing about the vaccines and the COVID vaccine, what would you say? I would say to them that, at this point, millions and millions of people around the globe have taken the COVID-19 vaccine, and millions and millions more will. And there are millions and millions of people out there literally waiting to be able to take it. And we have such a privilege in this country, to be among the first people in the world to be vaccinated for COVID-19. And it would be a real travesty if we did not all come together in order to eradicate this deadly virus that has impacted our lives in ways that none of us could have ever foreseen, and will likely never, ever have to deal with again.

Sylvania City Council Member and Mayoral candidate Katie Cappellini
Have you received the COVID vaccine? Yes, I have received the COVID vaccine.
If so, why have you? If not, what are your reasons?  I got the vaccine in April because I wanted to go back to living a normal life, I wanted to help stop the spread of the disease and because I’m the caretaker for my 84 year old mother. I don’t have time to be sick.
Do you feel vaccines are important? What about the COVID vaccine? To the contrary, why do you think vaccines are not safe? Yes, vaccines are important! Polio, Tetanus, Hepatitis, the Measles, Whooping Cough and the Mumps are all serious diseases that have almost been forgotten about because of the success of vaccines.
If you were to tell the public one thing about the vaccines and the COVID vaccine, what would you say? Vaccines have a long history of eradicating disease and saving lives. Stay safe and get the COVID vaccine.

Toledo City Council Member Sam Melden
Have you received the COVID Vaccine? Yes, as soon as I was eligible.
If so, why have you? If not, what are your reasons?  Simply put: I don’t want to get COVID. Additionally, while COVID isn’t good for anyone, we have a child with a disability which makes them more susceptible to the most negative outcomes related to this virus. Anything we can do to minimize the likelihood our children get COVID, we want to do.
Do you feel vaccines are important? What about the COVID vaccine? To the contrary, why do you think vaccines are not safe? Yes, vaccines are important. I think the COVID vaccine is a modern miracle. Initially, we all marveled at how quickly it was developed, but of course that is only step one. The real marvel is how effective it has been.
If you were to tell the public one thing about the vaccines and the COVID vaccine, what would you say? Public health experts are scientists and doctors simply trying to solve enormous challenges that face human beings all around the planet. They aren’t political actors trying to appease their base, or preachers claiming to have a higher truth in order to fill their pews. In the same way you drive safely for your own health and for those around you, get the COVID vaccine. Please.

No Comment

Toledo City Paper contacted other area and Ohio politicians and posed the same questions concerning the vaccine.

Despite several requests sent to the following individuals, we did not receive responses (if we receive answers after publication, we’ll update this story immediately):

Toledo City Council Member At-Large Dr. Cecelia Adams
US Senate candidate Mike Gibbons
US Senate candidate Josh Mandel

The campaign of JD Vance, United State Senate Candidate from Ohio, replied with the following:

“Please refer to JD’s op-eds on the subject, ‘J.D. Vance: Vaccine passports threaten to become a weapon against us,’ which was published in the Cincinnati Enquirer, and ‘J.D. Vance: Ohio State’s vaccine mandate is an outrageous “invasion of medical privacy,”’ which was published in The Columbus Dispatch, in response to your inquiry.”

That does not constitute a reply to the questions.