Former NFL Player Gets COVID-19 Vaccine And Encourages Others To Do The Same

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TUPELO, MISS. (WCBI) – A Tupelo native and former NFL player is leading by example when it comes to encouraging people to get the Covid 19 vaccine.

Former Buffalo Bills wide receiver Russell Copeland is getting his Covid 19 vaccine one year after what is a somber anniversary for his family.

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“Yesterday marked the year anniversary my Dad passed away from Covid 19,” Copeland said.

Milton Copeland contracted the virus from a church member. Russell Copeland says his Dad was healthy but had to be put on a ventilator when Covid 19 made it hard for him to breathe. He died on April 13 of 2020, his son was unable to be at his father’s side when he passed.

“So for me, it’s very important for me to get the vaccine and be able to get some protection against Covid 19,” Copeland said.

Copeland received his vaccine at the Hook’s Diabetes and Medical Clinic. State Representative Rickey Thompson, who is also an LPN, gave Copeland the shot.

Copeland says he understands there is some reluctance, especially in the African American community to get the vaccine. However, he encourages people to do their research and listen to medical experts.

“I feel assured it is safe and healthy, if someone as myself, who has played in the NFL is coming to get the vaccine, I feel like it’s safe and hopefully everyone else can do it,” he said.

Copeland is working with the nonprofit, Project ELECT, to encourage people to get the vaccine. District 16 State Representative Rickey Thompson is a member of Project ELECT and says local doctors are behind the vaccine push.

“It makes a big difference, this is an impact to the community, letting them know the importance of getting the vaccine, letting them know we don’t want to lose any more lives, we want to save lives,” Rep. Thompson said.

“We want to lower the number of individuals contracting Covid or if you get Covid and you have been vaccinated your symptoms may not be as bad,” said Nancy Hooks, doctor of nursing practice.

Hook’s Diabetes and medical Clinic gives Covid shots every Wednesday.

PROJECT ELECT is also working to help bring more Covid 19 vaccines to rural areas in Northeast Mississippi.