ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – Health experts are doing a deep dive into why some people in the stateline pause and ponder about getting vaccinated for COVID-19, and what can be done to change their minds. Doctors clarify who these people are, and the reason for their hesitancy.
Health leaders said we’re in a race to get as many people vaccinated as possible. If we wait too long, it could affect summer events and push recovery into the fall and winter.
“We’re going to have to work a little bit harder to get people vaccinated,” said Winnebago County Public Health Administrator, Dr. Sandra Martell.
The Winnebago County Health Department is struggling to fill vaccination appointments. Martell said young adults remain reluctant.
“The group we are trying to vaccinate now was not at high risk for COVID-19,” said Martell. “They are more likely now to contract the illness because those most at risk have been vaccinated at a higher rate.”
Dr. Stephen Bartlett is the Chief Medical Officer at OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center. He said the reason young people hold back from getting the vaccine is because they aren’t as concerned about becoming sick or dying.
“It’s a problem because during the period of time you have it, you’re going to spread it to other people,” said Bartlett. “And that may not bother you personally, but it could bother someone else and affect their health and even their life.”
According to the United States Census Bureau, 47% of Illinois residents are hesitant to get the vaccine due to concerns over side effects. Martell said they need to change people’s minds.
“You might see evenings, you might see sporting events associated with it or coupons,” Martell said. “We’re all looking at different ways to bring that next group in.”
If they don’t, medical experts said the consequences could be dangerous.
“There’s concern about another variant that may develop over time, that’s more infectious and more lethal,” said Bartlett.
The Winnebago County Health Department wants to make this process as convenient and appealing as possible. Martell said it will offer COVID-19 vaccines at 555 N Court St, Rockford, IL 61103 (WCHD building) from noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 27. No appointment is necessary.
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