WATCH: Rep. Levin, Dr. Bagdasarian (MDHHS) Host Town Hall on Vaccinations in Michigan, Address Vaccine Hesitancy

March 31, 2021
Press Release

WARREN, MI – Congressman Andy Levin (MI-09) hosted a Facebook Live Town Hall with Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, Senior Public Health Physician for Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and an infectious disease expert, to discuss how the American Rescue Plan will help end the COVID-19 pandemic by getting shots in the arms of Michiganders and help to overcome vaccine hesitancy.

You can watch the town hall here.

Earlier this month, a poll by EPIC-MRA of Lansing found that that fully a quarter of Michiganders do not intend to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, including nearly half of Michigan Republican voters. Listeners were able to ask questions about vaccine safety and efficacy from an expert in the field and become empowered to have conversations in their communities about the importance of taking the vaccine.

Addressing the role of politics in the vaccine efficacy debate, Rep. Levin said: “If this seems like a political thing, that's bad. The whole problem here is that what should be just a basic public health thing – a  pandemic, the worst public health crisis in 100 years, let's let the doctors and the scientists help us find our way out – got all politicized…These vaccines, as Dr. Fauci said, they were brought forward very fast, but not with any shortcuts at all, on how they went through their trials. And they have been shown to be very safe and very effective. And it's important for us in this messaging, yes, to rely on, trusted people who are famous who people trust, but most especially, people need to hear from their doctors.”

Answering a question about what it means that the vaccine is authorized for emergency use, Dr. Bagdasarian said: “The vaccines have been through all the phases that vaccines must go through to be approved. They always start with phase one, phase two, and phase three. The very first phase of vaccine trials is always safety – is it safe? Then we assess efficacy – is the vaccine efficacious? At this point these vaccines have been administered to millions of people and the adverse reactions have been very, very low, so I would say that these vaccines are some of the most regulated and most vetted vaccines that we have that we have available.”

Rep. Levin and Dr. Bagdasarian highlighted how the American Rescue Plan will get shots in arms with a coordinated, nationwide vaccine program to:

  • Make sure we have enough vaccines for all Americans through research, development, manufacturing, production, and purchase.
  • Get those vaccines out to all Americans quickly and equitably through sites like Ford Field community vaccination center, mobile vaccination units and more.
  • Improve communication to strengthen confidence in the vaccine and make sure all Americans know when, where, how and why they can get one.

Rep. Levin will host two more American Rescue Plan Facebook Live Events during the District Work Period:

  • 4/1 @ 4:30 PM ET Affordable Care Act Expansion with Madiha Tariq, MPH, Deputy Director, ACCESS
  • 4/7 @ 3:00 PM ET the Impacts on Poverty "Teach-In" with Luke Shaefer, PhD, Center Director, Poverty Solutions, University of Michigan