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Pottawattamie County dealing with vaccine hesitancy

Posted at 6:02 PM, Sep 21, 2021

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (KMTV) - One report from Health and Human Services ranks Iowa 25th out of 52 states and territories in terms of vaccination rates.

CHI Health Physician Assistant Darcy Jones says she's heard all kinds of misinformation that's puzzling to hear.

"Sometimes it's kind of weird stuff, like 'Now I got 5G in my body and now my body is magnetized,' and I'm thinking, 'Where is that stuff coming from?" Jones said. "Do you really believe that stuff?"

On some calls, she did not know how to respond.

"People that call in just to kind of complain that I can't believe we have to get a vaccine for work, wear a mask at school, people who are frustrated with being told what to do," Jones said.

Pottawattamie County Public Health's Matt Wyant says the county sits at about 50% of eligible residents who are vaccinated. He noticed sign-up numbers dropping off when there was talk of employers mandating vaccines. Now, clinics are only seeing about three people a night.

"We were hopeful that we would see the reverse of that, see more people going to sign up for it preemptively. Knowing this change would possibly be happening seemed to have the reverse effect on those individuals," Wyant said.

Wyant calls the turnout "disappointing."

"We all have COVID fatigue. We are all struggling to keep reverberating the message in a different way to gain people's attention. Even our hospitals, the numbers are up in our hospitals, new cases, numbers are up with the Delta variant, still increasing in our area," Wyant said.

Jones wants to emphasize not making the choice to get a vaccine is rocky.

"If you're not vaccinated, you're taking a risk that you could get sick from COVID," Jones said. "And you never know, could you be one of those that has COVID and has no symptoms? Could you be one that has COVID and has a mild case, could you be one that's severely ill? There's a risk for not taking the vaccine and being exposed and getting sick."

Wyant says the goal is to get 60% of eligible residents vaccinated. For more information, click here.

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