Crawford County working to combat vaccine hesitancy

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SOUTHEAST KANSAS — While covid-19 vaccinations have become more available – vaccination rates have stalled.

They’re seeing this firsthand in Crawford County. They’re trying to help take away this vaccine hesitancy so many people are having. The good news – they already have a plan, and it comes down to sharing stories of trusted people throughout the community.

Tyler Wilson, Pittsburg Resident, said, “A lot of people are hesitant to get the vaccine just out of fear I feel like.”

Across the country, covid-19 vaccines are becoming more available. However, places like Crawford County are starting to see less people showing up.

Dr. Timothy Stebbins, Crawford County Health Officer, said, “We had a pretty good showing when we went down an age group, or opened those up to those with critical illnesses. Where we had lackluster show was in that post-high school to 45 year old age group, which is about half of our county population.”

A lot of this vaccine hesitancy can come from the unknown.

“My biggest fear was you know “This is new, I’m going to be the first batch of people getting this vaccine,” said Wilson.

Research says fixing the hesitancy may come down to who you trust.

Abby Fern, Crawford County Recovery Task Force, said, “Statewide data shows that people are less trusting of elected or appointed officials and more trusting of people in their lives like their personal physician or their pastor.”

So the Crawford County task force is uniting those voices from those personal communtiy members.

“We will begin posting to county social media soon with influencers statements. We collected several prominent members of the community who have been vaccinated and are willing to tell their story of why they did so.”

To help take away some of the worries coming from getting a vaccine. Bringing crawford county a little closer to beating the coronavirus.

“If there’s a friend group and they’re all getting the vaccine, mostly everyone in that friend group is going to get the vaccine, but if there’s a friend group with people that are hesitant, you know how the old saying goes birds of a feather flock together,” said Wilson.

Dr. Stebbins say this is already evident thanks to some Pfizer vaccine clinics. With it being available to teenagers, some have actually been bringing their parents to get vaccinated as well.

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