ANDERSON — Fighting the virus has become a community-wide effort, and there’s nothing that demonstrates that more than Dr. John Woodall and his wife Janet. If you live in Anderson, there’s a good chance you’ve spotted these two walking down your street.
A family practice doctor in Anderson for 49 years, Dr. Woodall at 80 years old is still practicing to this day at Open Door Health Services through Ascension St. Vincent.
“Well that gets back to her,” said Dr. Woodall. “The honey-do list: as long as it’s longer than ours at the hospital, I need to keep working.”
Both John and his wife never got COVID during the pandemic, being extremely careful the past year. So when the vaccine became available, they didn’t hesitate.
“It is the only thing that you can really do to take care of it,” said Dr. Woodall. “And I wanted to be prepared so that I can continue taking care of patients also.”
After realizing some in the community weren’t as quick to trust the science, the couple thought it was their mission to change their minds. Strapping signs around their neck and going door to door, they sought to educate people about the vaccine and why they feel it’s so important to get the shot. And if the signs didn’t work, his sales pitch is pretty good, too.
“I am making a special house call for you,” Dr. Woodall would say.
At first, people weren’t as receptive, they say.
“It was amazing because when he started out we were kind of discouraged," said Dr. Woodall. “They say we know about that and we’re not buying any.”
But eventually, they opened up. Dr. Woodall could answer any questions they had about the vaccine or the science behind it.
“We had some people that just the mere fact that them seeing the doctor that’s been in the area made them feel well, if you felt like you could come to my door and knock and asked me to get the shot, I think I’m going to do it,” he said.
What drives the duo to want to walk the streets and do this at their age, they said, “the black population is the population that has a higher rate of infection, so we wanted to get out and see what we could do to help at least decrease that.”
They fear the variants like the Delta variant, becoming more common throughout the state, will be trouble for those not protected.
“His being concerned enough to come and talk to them about it, they then say 'hey, I’m going to do that,'” said Janet.
“There’s still a few people out there that we need to get sure, and we’re going to keep working on them too,” said Dr. Woodall.