Listening session held to better understand vaccine hesitancy

Published: Sep. 27, 2021 at 10:46 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - While many Americans are beginning to receive their COVID-19 booster shots, some still have concerns about getting the first shot.

Two local organizations joined forces Monday night to host virtual events to talk to those people and better understand why they are so hesitant.

Healthy Savannah and the YMCA hosted a virtual event called Listening to Those Rejecting the Vaccine. They invited unvaccinated Savannah area citizens to the meeting to hear their concerns and ask questions about vaccine acceptance.

“We specifically invited the non-vaccinated but none showed up,” said Nichele Hoskins, Healthy Savannah Communication Manager.

They had multiple people attend who are now vaccinated but initially were hesitant to get the vaccine. They emphasized they would like to hear more from those still unvaccinated and to remind them that this is a safe space.

At the same time many leaders are still pushing to get these people vaccinated.

“We know that to beat that pandemic and to save lives, to keep our children safe, our schools open, our economy going, we need to get folks vaccinated, so, please, please do the right thing,” said President Joe Biden.

The organizers say after speaking with these people they realize that there is a lack of trust between the government, media and some of the public.

Their goal in these sessions has been to gain people’s trust.

“The first step for us has been to gain is to talk to people, listen to them. Make sure they know they are being heard and their thoughts and opinions are being honored,” said Hoskins.

They hope having these listening sessions will help them better discover how they can build the trust that has been missing.

Organizers say this was the fifth listening session they have had. They plan on having several more sessions for those who are hesitant.

They will also be looking to train advocates on how to talk to those in your community about the vaccine.

More information can be found on their website.

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