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Miami Lakes’ Republican mayor resisted the COVID vaccine. Here’s why he got the shot

·3 min read

Miami Lakes Mayor Manny Cid said he doesn’t believe in “shaming,” one way or the other, when it comes to the choice to get vaccinated against COVID-19. But on Monday night, after months of hesitance, the 37-year-old Republican mayor went public with his choice to now get the shot.

“A lot of people in our community trust me, so I felt it was important to take that step for my family, for the community and get vaccinated,” Cid said on Tuesday. “But more importantly, to share it. I already know that as of yesterday, people’s minds have changed on it.”

The mayor’s message comes as a spike of hospitalizations for the coronavirus hits Miami-Dade County and some hospitals are again limiting visitors and preparing for the worst. Florida now has around 1 in 5 new COVID-19 cases in the United States — and younger, unvaccinated patients overwhelmingly lead the surge.

Cid had not previously been public about his vaccination status, but had spoken out encouraging those in high-risk groups for the virus to get jabbed. As a young person, however, Cid said he was hesitant about the vaccine, especially because of its use of relatively new mRNA technology.

But after speaking extensively with his personal doctor and his family, and watching the growing body of data on the vaccine’s effects worldwide, Cid said he made the decision to get a Pfizer shot — months after it first became available to the general population.

Close family friends of Cid’s have passed away from the virus, and their stories, along with cases of young people experiencing long-term debilitating effects after infection, helped push Cid toward the decision, he explained.

For instance, Venezuelan singer Chyno Miranda recently spoke out on his battle with COVID-19.

“He’s younger than me — he got it, and he can’t walk because he got encephalitis,” Cid said of Miranda. “I think there was a report of a college student who got it, had asymptomatic COVID, but her brain swelled. And to this day, she’s having trouble sleeping. I think to me, the benefit of the vaccine outweighs the impact of the virus because you never know.”

Cid, a Republican occupying a nonpartisan post, is mayor of a town of about 31,000 where nearly half of all voters are also Republicans, who tend to be more skeptical of COVID-19 vaccines than independent and Democratic voters.

The young mayor’s tweet comes amid an ongoing national conversation on how best to reach those who are unvaccinated, especially since data last week showed around 99% of those dying from COVID-19 in the U.S. have not received a vaccine.

“It’s 100% a personal health decision, and I don’t think anybody should be shamed one way or the other. I think you have folks on both sides who are trying to shame people,” Cid said. “That’s wrong.”

Since going public on Twitter with a photo of himself getting the shot, Cid said a few friends and constituents have reached out to him. Two reached out directly through social media to say “I was not going to get it, but you got me thinking now,” according to Cid.

“I got a message yesterday from someone I highly respect and is a friend of mine and is in her late 50s, and she said, ‘You know what, you just made my decision easier,’ ” the mayor said. That sort of reaction, he said, is exactly why he decided to go public with his new vaccination status. “Even if I can help one person, which I did — and who knows the others who haven’t reached out to me — it was worth doing.”

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