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Gov. Parson projects 40% of Missourians will not be interested in receiving the vaccine

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

Gov. Parson said Thursday after announcing a timeline for Phases 2 and 3 that the state anticipated 60% of Missouri residents will be interested in receiving the coronavirus vaccine.

That still leaves 40% of the state's population that may not be interested in receiving the vaccine at all.

"Even though natural immunity may not be as good as vaccine immunity, we still have a number of Missourians that actually had the disease," said Dr. Robin Blount, chief medical officer of Boone Hospital Center.

Blount said she believes there is good targeted information going out to try to reach those people that are skeptical.

Dr. Margaret Day with MU Health Care said people have asked her in the past if they should be waiting to receive the vaccine until those most vulnerable have found doses. She advises everyone to sign up as soon as it is determined to be their turn.

Parson said when asked about the hesitancy that, "The people in this state are smart enough to know what the situation is."

Day said leaving the door open for people who may be hesitant is important and make sure they have the information they need to make them feel comfortable to receive it in the future.

Parson said he will continue to encourage people to take the vaccine, but people are going to make up their minds on their own.

Blount said when the state looked at vaccine interest polls a few months ago, 60% was not going to take the vaccine. She said many people that were hesitant are now getting more comfortable.

Day said people showed hesitancy in the beginning over the fact that the vaccine was new and many wanted to wait for others to get it. She believes as more people get vaccinated that the comfort level will be extended to others around them.

Blount said vaccine availability will be a key part in this process. "If two months from now you can walk into any drugstore and get the vaccine, you're going to get a lot more people done."

Sara Humm with the Columbia/Boone County Health Department said, "Right now there is still a higher demand than supply, but we know at some point that will change where we have to do a lot more educating and outreach."

Day said people should be reaching out to those that they trust to seek more information about the vaccine. This will include people you may know who have received the vaccine, as well as trusted health care experts with questions and concerns.

Humm said the health department has already started with outreach clinics to break down barriers for those who can't make it to a mass vaccination clinic.

According to CNBS, White House Medical Officer Dr. Anthony Fauci said the U.S. could begin vaccinating older kids this fall while elementary-aged children may start getting their shots next year.

Day said she expects there will be even more hesitancy in parents towards their children receiving the vaccine. She expects very rigorous safety standards to be in place during this process.

According to the state dashboard, 21% of Missourians have initiated vaccination and 11.4% have completed the vaccination process.

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Chanel Porter

Chanel joined ABC 17 News in January 2021 after graduating from Penn State University. She enjoys traveling and a daily iced coffee.

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