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'Why I'm Taking (or Took) the Vaccine' - 5 Blue Shield of California Executives Explain Their Decision


DonAntonnuci sq
Don Antonucci

Don Antonucci, Senior Vice President, Growth

"Science, innovation and technology have enabled the development of multiple vaccines that are safe and highly effective. Life is vastly different for all of us than it was before a global pandemic was declared in 2020. COVID has changed our daily lives, both personally and professionally. While we continue to wear masks and follow social distancing protocols to stay safe, I look forward to when we can return to doing so many of the things we miss; visiting family and friends, traveling, going to a movie theater, dining indoors, running in a race with other participants and sending students back in classrooms."


Sandra Clarke portrait
Sandra Clarke

Sandra Clarke, Chief Financial Officer

“I support vaccines as safe, effective ways we can protect ourselves and others. In the case of COVID-19, vaccines mean that we will finally be able to go outside without fear, see our loved ones again, and give them a big hug. I am proud to share that I’ve been fully vaccinated but will continue to wear a mask where mandated and follow social distancing protocols to keep safe. While COVID has changed our lives, it is not invincible. If we all do our part, we can stop the spread.”


Dr. Susan Fleishman
Dr. Susan Fleischman

Dr. Susan Fleischman, Chief Medical Officer, Promise Health Plan

"I got vaccinated to keep me, my family, and my community safe. The vaccine has proven to be safe, and getting sick from COVID is certainly not safe. By getting the vaccine I stay safe by reducing the chance that I get seriously ill, hospitalized, or die from COVID. By getting the vaccine I contribute to the safety of my family by staying healthy and being able to care for them. By getting the vaccine I contribute to the health and safety of my community as we try to reach herd immunity to stop the spread of this disease. I want to live in a safe community where businesses will be able to re-open and our members can return to work if they lost their jobs due to COVID.

Getting the vaccine is the safe thing to do. Please get vaccinated for your sake, for the sake of your family, and for your community."


Dr. James Cruz

Dr. James Cruz, Senior Medical Director, Promise Health Plan

"While I am a physician and the foundation of my professional training is built upon medical science and the application of public health principles, I had some important questions that needed to be answered. 

"I shared the same concerns as others: Is the vaccine safe?  Is the vaccine effective? Has the vaccine’s effectiveness preventing COVID-19 in people of color, like me, been adequately evaluated? Can I trust the government’s guidance? 

"I needed to critically evaluate the vaccine clinical trial data and seek out the analysis of the data from my trusted sources of information. In the end, my decision was clear.  First, and tragically, COVID-19 has devastated California’s LatinX community. 

"By a wide margin, California’s LatinX community has experienced the highest rates of infection, hospitalizations and deaths compared to all other groups. To protect myself and to help stop the spread to my loved ones, vaccination was the only way to do that. The answers to the my other questions were also clear. The science and the data has demonstrated the three available vaccines are effective and incredibly safe. 

"Lastly, the clinical trials included a meaningful number of people of color, both male and female. In February, I received my first and second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.  Everything went well, and I experienced a day of very mild body aches and fatigue. The vaccine has afforded me an incredible peace of mind."


Kimberley Goode 2018
Kimberley Goode

Kimberley Goode, Senior Vice President, External Affairs

In an interview with the California News Times, Goode spoke about the impact COVID-19 had on four generations of her family. She said vaccines were an easy choice given the risk of COVID-19.

“When I asked my doctor about the potential side effects of the vaccine, it was very clear that (a family member) was at a much higher risk of dying from COVID-19 due to age and underlying illness than the side effects of the vaccine,” she said. “We trusted our doctors and made appointments. Both are now vaccinated without any problems.”

Read the News Center story here.