LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Kentuckians overwhelmingly trust their physician or health care provider when it comes to vaccine information. That’s the finding in the Vaccines in Kentucky poll commissioned by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.
The poll shows, overall, 95% of Kentuckians trust their physician or health care provider either a great deal or fair amount. Of those intending not to take the COVID-19 vaccine, that number drops to 87%, while 98% those intending to take the COVID-19 vaccine trust their own doctor.
The next most-trusted source is a person’s pharmacist, followed by their local health department director.
For those intending not to get the COVID-19 vaccine, family members were also high on the list of trusted sources (59%), followed by friends or co-workers (47%), and Kentucky’s Public Health Commissioner (44%).
“This poll shows we have to work on the local health level to get the facts about the COVID-19 vaccines out to Kentuckians,” said Ben Chandler, president/CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. “Doctors, pharmacists, local health departments and family and friends – these are the messengers we need to get in front of Kentucky adults who are hesitant about the vaccine. And, we need them to get vaccinated if we’re going to have a shot at herd immunity.”
Polling data released by the Foundation on April 14 showed that half of the 29% who reported they probably or definitely did not intend to get the vaccine were open to changing their minds with more information and time. Public health leaders estimate herd immunity at 70 to 85% of the population being vaccinated.
Beyond getting information from their doctor or pharmacist, Kentuckians largely rely on digital or online news for health and wellness information (44%). Meanwhile, one-in-four people reported using a variety of other sources for health and wellness information (23%). Open-ended responses included friends, the internet, WebMD, and Google.
Unknowns drive hesitancy
The Vaccines in Kentucky Poll also provides a look at why people intended not to get a COVID-19 vaccine. For many people, questions remain about how quickly the vaccines were developed, what’s not known yet, and long-term effects.
“It’s natural to have questions and concerns – what we know about the coronavirus continues to evolve and we learn more every day,” said Vivian Lasley-Bibbs, Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky board chair. “I encourage folks who are hesitant or have questions to talk with their health care providers, pharmacists and local health department directors about what the vaccine means for you and your family. You can also read more from sources such as the CDC that your health care provider and public health officials are relying on for trusted information.”
The Foundation has compiled a list of resources addressing some of the most common questions and concerns related to the coronavirus and COVID-19 vaccines. Click here.
While there was not one single reason Kentuckians overwhelmingly cited as their motivation to get the COVID-19 vaccine, more than four in ten reported wanting to protect themselves and their family. Other reasons included stopping the spread, protecting others, and job requirements.