With the national death toll continuing to set records as the holidays approach and eventual vaccine mobilization planned to begin sometime early next year, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced a group that includes Detroit Pistons star Blake Griffin that would promote and educate people on the COVID-19 vaccine.
Whitmer signed an executive order calling for the Protect Michigan Commission to help raise awareness of the safety and effectiveness of an approved COVID-19 vaccine.
Joining Griffin on the commission will be state leaders, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, who marshaled public awareness during the Flint water crisis, Soumit Pendharkar, health administrator of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, and various hospital and legislative leaders.
Griffin said he was happy to play a part in bringing awareness of good health and safety measures and of the upcoming COVID-19 vaccine, and that everyone has to do their part.
“This is not something we’re going to get through by just a few people doing what they need to do. Everybody has to contribute, so I am proud to be a part of it,” he said.
“Being a spokesperson for being smart, wearing masks, social distancing, washing hands. Doing all the things that we know are important and help slow the spread of the virus,” he said.
The two leading candidates for a vaccine are from Pfizer and Moderna, who have both submitted emergency use authorization requests for vaccines with the Food and Drug Administration.
The governor’s office says a team will be developing a plan to distribute the vaccine in Michigan with a focus on vulnerable populations, frontline workers and educators.
As far as the Pistons, Griffin says the energy, attitude and communication is the best he’s seen since he joined the Pistons organization.
“The energy in the practice facility in the past five days has been outstanding,” Griffin said. “There’s going to be growing pains … so we’ll keep working and keep getting better, but I do love our attitude. Our energy every day in practice. The character of the guys we put together here.”