Howard University Hospital CEO called a 'sellout' over COVID-19 vaccine support

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Anita Jenkins, the CEO of Howard University Hospital in Washington, D.C., faced backlash from members of her community for encouraging them to get the COVID-19 vaccines, according to a 7News interview with Ms. Jenkins.

"I was called online a 'sellout' to my people," Ms. Jenkins told the news station in an interview published July 12. "But that's OK," she added. "I am absolutely willing to take a hit if that means that one or two more people will listen. If everything that I've said or done or every risk that I have taken by being vaccinated first saves one person, it's worth it all. It's worth it all."

In December 2020, Ms. Jenkins was among the first to be vaccinated at Howard in a move she hoped would address doubts that some Black Americans held around the vaccine. The majority of Howard's patients are Black Americans.

"Healthcare disparities, research, all of that has not necessarily been a smooth ride for Black and brown people in the United States," Ms. Jenkins told WUSA 9 in December. "That's why this COVID vaccine is met with skepticism. But let's please understand, we are losing the battle with COVID. Black and brown people are dying about three times more from this disease than others."

In her interview with 7News, Ms. Jenkins alluded to an upcoming vaccine mandate for employees, with the hospital preparing a list of exemptions and a timeline for the deadline.

"If (employees) are unable to have any of the exemptions, then yes, their job is at risk," she told the news station.

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