State leaders implementing new strategies to get combat vaccine hesitancy

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INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana health leaders are addressing vaccine hesitancy as demand in Indiana stalls. This afternoon we learned more about why some people are still hesitant to roll up their sleeves, and what the state is doing to change their minds.

Right now, only a third of Hoosiers eligible for the vaccine are now fully vaccinated. And state leaders say they’re doing everything they can to combat vaccine hesitancy.

“It’s interesting because I think people spend a lot of time talking about the people that are just dead set against it. And I don’t know how we’re going to do that,” said IU Health, Associate Chief Medical Executive, Dr. Paul Calkins.

Right now, 211 is calling residents in nearly 50 counties to learn why people are not getting vaccinated.

“Some of the reasons we continue to hear are that I’ve had COVID, and I don’t need the vaccine. This isn’t true. Because we still don’t know how long antibodies from COVID last,” said Indiana State Department of Health, Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Lindsay Weaver, M.D.

Other reasons people aren’t getting the vaccine are because they have a false sense of security or simply don’t think it’s safe to get it.

“And we also lastly hear I don’t trust the vaccine and more research is needed,” said Dr. Weaver.

Then there’s the concerned people will still get sick even after getting the vaccine. Only 0.04%
of those who are fully vaccinated in Indiana have tested posted for the virus after getting their shots.

“I want everyone to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Weaver.

Officials are also trying to get vaccines into primary care offices, something IU health is already doing.

“We’re actually giving the J&J vaccine in some of our primary care offices now. As sort of a pilot program,” said Dr. Calkins.

Dr. Calkins adds that this is perfect for those who are on the fence. And experts say most are more comfortable getting it from their well-known and trusted primary care provider.

“They’ve got their doctor there to talk to them there if they need to understand why it’s a good idea. So that’s a very powerful mechanism,” said Dr. Calkins.

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