GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Local leaders received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine Thursday.
Greenville County Sheriff Hobart Lewis and local activist U.A. Thompson both got their shot at Prisma Health’s mass vaccination site in Greenville.
“I do want to encourage others to get the vaccine as soon as possible,” Thompson said.
Sheriff Lewis got the shot a few minutes before Thompson.
“Just a shot…nothing to it. Didn’t even know it,” Lewis said.
Both said they want to use their positions to hopefully encourage others to do what they can to bring the pandemic to a close.
For Thompson, that’s trying to instill trust in the vaccine within the African American community.
“America has a history of not being very friendly and kind toward people of color, and I know that that is a strong suspicion and a strong concern of African Americans,” he said. “But I would like to encourage them that I would hope that the majority of America is not racist.”
Law enforcement employees are eligible for the vaccine right now as first responders. Sheriff Lewis said at least 133 out of 618 workers in the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office have signed up for the vaccine.
“I think it’s important for people to see law enforcement getting it,” he said. “A lot of people don’t trust it. It’s just a shot. It’s just a vaccine.”
Some of his employees have been hospitalized because of the virus, and as of Thursday morning, he said about 36 were out sick with Covid-19.
“So we certainly encourage them to [get vaccinated],” he said. “We don’t force them to take it.”
Lewis and Thompson both want to encourage vaccination throughout the community– for everyone’s sake.
“This is our best option right now obviously for getting rid of this virus, and we all want to get back to what we think’s normal,” Lewis said.
“Please, come get this vaccine so we can stop these hearse wheels from rolling in our community because of Covid-19,” Thompson said.
You can find more information about signing up to get vaccinated through Prisma Health here.