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Fear, mistrust of government blamed for vaccination hesitancy

Published: Aug. 20, 2021 at 6:46 PM CDT
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SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - The debate over COVID-19 vaccines has brought out strong emotions from people both for and against the shot. But for many people, the decision to avoid the vaccine doesn’t have a simple explanation.

There are numerous reasons why people won’t get vaccinated, despite the numbers being reported out of Jackson.

The state department of health reported Friday that 87% of deaths and 89% of hospitalizations from COVID-19 in Mississippi since July 23rd are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.

“Most of the resistance, though, is around fear,” said Memorial Hospital at Gulfport, licensed master social worker Wayne Cullinan “Sometimes that fear is a fear of needles.

Other times those fears can be more complex.

“Sometimes people are afraid because they don’t trust the institutions that are behind the vaccines,” said Cullinan. “The medical establishment, the corporations that make the vaccines, the government.”

Singing River Health System Director of Pulmonary Critical Care Dr. Ijlal Babar, has been surveying his patients about their vaccine hesitancy for several months looking for an answer.

“The nuanced reasoning is something that I’ve picked up on also,” Babar said. “There’s not one reason, and many people have more than one reason.”

As the medical community fights to control COVID-19, they are also seeking ways to get hesitant and resistant people to see the benefits of getting vaccinated.

“Your fear, whatever it is, whatever the rationale or the reason you have for not getting vaccinated is valid,” said Cullinan. “It matters. It matters to you so it matters. But, continuing to live in a world that has COVID is so much scarier.”

Doctor, after doctor say getting more people vaccinated is the only way to get an upper hand over the pandemic. They just don’t know what it will take to make that happen.

“I don’t know what convinces people,” said Babar. “But I always throw in the fact that my three children, 15 to 23, are all vaccinated. And I hope I can convince them that if I could put my 15-year-old and get her vaccinated, I think it is safe.”

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