My Nursing Story with Kevin Watkins

Nurse, Instructor and Port Huron NAACP President Kevin Watkins speaks to his vaccine experience during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kevin Watkins sharing his nursing vaccine story with MSU Extension staff.

Kevin Watkins is no stranger to the discord surrounding vaccines, particularly the COVID-19 vaccine that was rolled out in 2020. Kevin has been a nurse for over 30 years, is an instructor at St. Clair Community College, serves as President of the Port Huron NAACP (The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), and a community leader with a front row seat to the effects of the pandemic on the local community.

Recently featured in MSU Extension’s Michigan Vaccine Project My Nursing Story video series, Kevin says of the pandemic that, “the worst thing was the misinformation and the fact that people were at each other. It was either mask versus no mask, vaccine versus no vaccine.” Kevin took that time as an opportunity to educate the community on vaccines and use his position as a Black male nurse to help communities of color feel seen and heard. On the importance of representation in the healthcare field especially when explaining new treatments such as the COVID-19 vaccine, Kevin says, “you need to be seen, and you need someone, a physician, nurse practitioner, or healthcare clinic that know you, has your records, and can follow you as things move forward.”

Kevin also said, “by us being vaccinated, we can slow down the spread [of COVID-19] and prevent deaths. So it is that much more important for us, for the Black and Brown community, to embrace this vaccine, to give our body the defense. Any vaccines can prepare your body so that if it does see COVID, it can fight it. I personally want to be protected because I’m an African American male with strong hypertension and diabetes on both sides of the family. I’m at risk. I need to protect myself.”

Help finding a doctor:

If you need help finding a doctor, try searching for primary care physicians in your area that are highly recommended, search your insurance provider’s website for doctors in your network, or ask for recommendations from friends and neighbors. There are also search engines that can help you narrow your search based on region and specialty needed.

Where can you find vaccines?

To find a vaccine, check with your primary care physician, local health departments, pharmacies, and clinics. You can also visit to locate a vaccine clinic near you.

If you would like to learn more about vaccines, check out Michigan State University Extension’s partnership with the Michigan Vaccine Project to find links to event schedules, podcasts, publications, webinars, and videos relating to vaccine education.

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