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‘I think they wanted to see how their colleagues responded to the vaccine’: Some hesitancy remains about COVID-19 shots

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There still seems to be some hesitancy with people wanted to get vaccinated in the first place.

Essential workers are now free to seek the COVID-19 vaccine, but some are still hesitant about getting the shot — including workers in one of the industries most heavily impacted by the pandemic, long-term care.

“All those myths that have been out there and I think also they wanted to see how their colleagues responded to the vaccine. Were there some negative impacts? And what we’re seeing is there’s very little negative impact. Very little reaction,” explained Shelly Peterson, the President of the North Dakota Long Term Care Association.

The North Dakota Long Term Care Association says with almost all of their residents vaccinated, only a little over half of their staff have received their first shot.

The association says as the weeks go by, more people are getting in line to get their shots.

“Helping staff realize that their choice, which used to be just impacting them is now impacting their greater community of where they work, and I think that is helping others realize and say that, you know, I need to this for the residents that I’m caring for. This is important to them,” explained Peterson.

The North Dakota Department of Health says 1 in 4 North Dakotans has been vaccinated, which Immunization Director Molly Howell says it’s because some people are still undecided.

“Kind of taking a wait-and-see approach to being vaccinated. Or don’t really feel a sense of urgency to be vaccinated. And so yeah I think that is definitely happening in North Dakota. And as we move into younger age groups, especially essential workers, I think we’re seeing it more frequently,” explained Howell.

Howell says there are three different types of people in this process: Those who are eager, those who are on the fence and waiting and those who say absolutely not.

“I think what people really want to hear is a recommendation from their own doctor for vaccination and so we encourage people to reach out to their healthcare facility or their doctor if they have questions about COVID vaccine or whether or not they should receive COVID vaccine,” explained Howell.

She also says if people still have any lingering questions to refer to reliable sources, like the Department of Health and the CDC.

Peterson says the ultimate goal is to have 80 percent of long-term care staff fully vaccinated by June.

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