KY residents hesitant to recieve COVID-19 vaccine

Health leaders deal with vaccine hesitancy

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - As of Friday, April 5, Kentuckians over the age of 18 can now get the two-shot Moderna or the one-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

Anyone 16 or older is allowed to get the Pfizer vaccine.

Across western Kentucky, some health officials say it seems area residents who are eligible for a vaccination are a little hesitant to take the shot.

“There are still lots of people that are hesitant. Those people we are going to have to try to reach somehow,” said Melissa Ballard.

Melissa Ballard with the Ballard County Health Department said only 25 percent of residents in her county have been vaccinated, and that’s just not enough.

”From what I have read, we need that number to be about 80 percent, for us to be in good shape.”

That hesitancy is being seen not just here, but across several western Kentucky counties, said Purchase District Public Health Director Kent Koster.

We caught up with him late last week as he planned to try a new approach to more people vaccinated.

”I started reaching out to some of our pastors and some of our communities to try to target their congregations and try to provide any type of education that we possibly can to influence them and assure them that the vaccine is safe,” said Koster.

Koster said people are not getting the COVID-19 vaccine for a variety of reasons, including the influence of social media, concern about vaccine side effects and even political agendas.

His goal is to get to the 75 percent of the community vaccinated, so the state can return to a sense of normalcy.

”It’s at that point, we feel like things can get back to being more safe and we can release some of the mandates and executive orders that have been imposed upon us,” said Koster.

Ballard said they’re ready to serve as many residents as possible.

”Just give us a call, we’ll give you a day and a time to come in and get it,” said Ballard.

The health department urged individuals who’ve already been vaccinated to communicate and encourage those who haven’t to do their part in helping get through the pandemic.

Copyright 2021 KFVS. All rights reserved.