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ADPH says many in rural communities not getting vaccinated

Published: Jul. 10, 2021 at 6:29 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The COVID-19 vaccines are “safe and effective,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but a majority of Alabamians are not vaccinated.

Around 60% of eligible people have not received a shot, according to State Health Officer Scott Harris.

“There is absolutely what we tend to think of as true hesitancy,” Harris said.

Low vaccination rates remain a concern for members of the state’s Black community.

“Because of Alabama’s history of race relations, and because of the historical trauma that African American communities have felt, we certainly anticipated that we would encounter some hesitancy there,” Harris said.

The medical expert also said many living outside of Alabama’s big cities are not getting the shots.

“Many of our rural communities, particularly men, white men in particular, seem to be getting vaccinated at lower rates,” he said.

The health department said it is having to personalize its messages, in an effort to explain how different communities could benefit from the vaccines.

“There’s not ‘one size fits all’ messaging here,” Harris said. “It’s got to be addressed almost on an individual basis, certainly to very small groups, you know, one at a time.”

Linda Smith, a Montgomery resident of 17 years, said she took the shot. She said she’s thankful for the normalcy the vaccine is providing.

“Last year was definitely devastating in terms of trying to get out, see family, but we still have to be safe,” Smith said.

Those with questions about the shot can contact a medical professional or read more at alabamapublichealth.gov/covid19vaccine.

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