Milwaukee doctor gets COVID-19 vaccine to ease apprehension in Native American communities

Posted at 9:00 PM, Dec 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-17 23:28:57-05

MILWAUKEE — A Milwaukee doctor got his first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine live on Facebook in hopes he will help ease any apprehension people may have about it, especially in Native American communities.

Dr. Lyle Ignace is the CEO of the Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center on 10th and Mitchell on Milwaukee's south side.

He got the vaccine on Tuesday, and on Thursday he shared how he was feeling at his weekly town hall.

"The next morning I had a little soreness right where I had the vaccine, but most of the day was pretty good," Ignace said.

He said he felt a little more tired on Wednesday night and a little stiffness in his hands, but nothing too concerning.

Dr. Ignace got his first dose live on Facebook, and tens of thousands have since watched the video.

"It’s important for a community like the Native community to understand someone like myself, who is a Native physician, that I am speaking directly to Natives who may be apprehensive in receiving the vaccine," Dr. Ignace said. "That if I could do it, you certainly could as a Native community."

COVID-19 continues to disproportionately impact minority communities, especially in Wisconsin. Data from the Department of Health Services shows 5,117 recorded cases of COVID-19 among those with American Indian heritage. According to DHS, American Indians make up less than one percent of the state's population.

Dr. Ignace did some data analysis on his own, and he estimates the virus has infected about 11.2 percent of the state's American Indian population.

That's why he says it's so important to try to help quell any fears people may have about getting vaccinated, because he says he believes it will help save you or someone you love.

"Have that faith and trust in not only the science, but also that someone like me will tell you exactly step by step what is happening to me," Dr. Ignace said.

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