Burmese community members receive COVID vaccine

Photo Mar 14, 1 49 22 PM.jpg

Loren Gaskin

Background: Members of the Burmese community in Bowling Green came to get their COVID vaccine.

Since the COVID vaccine has begun distribution across the globe, we have heard a lot about its distribution and the vaccine itself.

Despite skepticism by some, millions have been vaccinated in the United States alone. Various locations and institutions in Bowling Green have already begun distributing these on a large scale.

This past Sunday, the WKU Health and Sciences Center had many members of the Bowling Green Burmese community come to get vaccinated, including Andrew Mung, 37, who has been in Bowling Green for about two years.

“Our worry is how soon we are gonna get this,” Mung said. “We thought that vaccine will come for the rich people.

“For myself personally, we are getting this today, I am very excited about it.”

This event was especially important to him because he says that, “…it affected us every day of our lives, because our community, we connected to each other.”

He cited several events they could no longer practice such as worshipping, funerals, and general community connections they used to have.

He commented on the worries that COVID has brought related to the death toll, as well as the risk his people take in Myanmar due to the ongoing military coup. Mung connected the risk his people take protesting during COVID and the ongoing struggles there.

“I have been so pleased with our community,” Melinda Joyce, who runs the vaccination center, said. “I mean people have really stepped up. They’ve wanted to get the vaccine, and people are coming in, but the fact that we can do between 850 and 920 for six days each week, is just showing that people really want to get this vaccine.

“We have had teachers who have told us how happy they are because they can get back in the classroom, she said. “We have had grandparents who’ve said they can’t wait because they wanna go hug their grandkids. We’ve had people who say, ‘I just want to do something simple like go talk to my neighbors.’ So, it’s been wonderful to see the outpouring of what we’ve seen from the community.”

Joyce said her team started talking about skepticism around the vaccine early.

“I know, myself, that I did a lot of talks to different groups. Just to talk about the vaccine. How it was developed. What was to be expected from the vaccine. I think the more education helps a great deal. I think seeing pictures of so many people getting the vaccine helps also.”

She said there have been over 45,000 vaccines given out corporate wide, and the people who have taken these have done really well. She believes that “this is the way we can get back to normal.”

The WKU faculty and staff are now eligible for the vaccine and are encouraged to go forward with this process.

Loren Gaskin can be reached at [email protected]