Increasing access to vaccines

Published: May. 3, 2021 at 11:29 PM EDT
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Health care providers are starting to see a leveling off of the number of people getting vaccinated. In this week’s Medical Monday, Kathy McCarty has more on what a local hospital is doing to make the vaccine more readily available for those who still haven’t gotten one.

Half of the residents of Aroostook have received the Covid-19 vaccine, but the effort continues to try to increase that percentage, says Jay Reynolds, Senior Physician Executive at Northern Light A.R. Gould Hospital.

“That’s really great, wonderful news, and that’s a testament to the public spiritness of folks in Aroostook County. But that still means than half have not been vaccinated yet,” says Jay Reynolds, Senior Physician Executive at Northern Light A.R. Gould Hospital.

Procrastination and access to clinics are factors.

“Some people just don’t want to be vaccinated and they’re never gonna wanna be vaccinated and that’s just kinda the way it is. But I think there’s probably a pretty big group within that half are folks who would be happy to get vaccinated, but it just hasn’t risen to the top of their priority list, and that they’re willing to do it but it just needs to be made somehow a little bit more convenient for them,” says Dr. Reynolds.

Because of that, the hospital plans to change their approach to vaccine distribution. He says clinic slots are going unfilled, so plans are to offer vaccines elsewhere.

“We’ll be opening up soon in our walk-in care locations to be able to get vaccines and probably just even on a walk-in basis, not needing - not needing an appointment,” he says.

Efforts to educate the public on why the vaccine is needed will continue.

“We’re going to be doing outreach, we’re gonna be doing education, gonna be doing some peer-to-peer work, and just trying to get as many folks who want to be vaccinated as possible. For those who are really dead set against ever getting vaccinated, certainly we respect their choice, and our efforts at this point are not to force people or twist people’s arms, but to just let them know the benefits of being vaccinated,” says Dr. Reynolds.

Kathy - Reynolds says by offering evening and weekend hours, the hospital hopes to get more people vaccinated in time for summer. For more information on the vaccine or a clinic near you, contact your primary care provider. Kathy McCarty, NewsSource 8

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