PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Center for Rural Pennsylvania held a hearing Wednesday to discuss vaccine rollout in rural communities across the state. The concern isn’t just about getting the vaccine to the people in these communities. It’s also about convincing them that the shot is safe and effective.
This is why leaders feel this issue needs to be brought up now, after the Department of Health and Human Services announced nationwide changes allowing people who are 65 and older to get the shot right away. The same goes for people with underlying health conditions.
Health leaders say older adults in rural communities seem to be more willing to get vaccinated. It’s younger people, and people who haven’t been personally affected by the COVID-19 virus who seem to be hesitant.
“People who are very worried for themselves about getting a serious case will get the vaccine but those with little personal measure don’t care as much to get it,” said Dr. Cary Funk with the Pew Research Center.
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“To continue the fight we need a robust supply of vaccines, and an aggressive public health campaign to encourage vaccination,” said President of UPMC Susquehanna, Dr. Steven Johnson.
One problem they’re seeing is a lack of major pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens in small towns. These are nationwide chains that are helping with administering the vaccine in long-term care facilities.
Meantime, some health leaders say they’re deploying mobile vaccine units to rural communities to increase accessibility and are getting the shot themselves to set an example.