Researchers study COVID vaccine hesitancy in Eastern Ky.

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Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 2:31 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WYMT) - It is called the Kentuckians Vaccinating Appalachian Communities, or K-VAC, project.

Researchers want to address the lower vaccine rates in Eastern Kentucky compared to other parts of the state and the country.

”Part of the solution is providing the best information that we can, the most accurate the most current information that we can,” said Dr. Marc Kiviniemi with The University of Kentucky. “So people can make an informed choice about vaccination.”

The study covers 15 Appalachian counties. Researchers say there is a difference of nearly 10 percent across the region. Perry County has one of the highest vaccine rates in the state. They say it is nearly twice as high as Elliott and Knox Counties.

”We know that each county and each community is unique, both in terms of its strengths and in terms of its needs,” he said. “So to be able understand what’s working in some areas and what’s not, will be a very central part of what we do.”

They began collecting data within the last month. They are working with key leaders in their study counties. Researchers say transportation is a burden for some Eastern Kentuckians.

”We have some ideas based on what we heard to date, potential elements of interventions to remove barriers for individuals,” said Dr. Kathryn Cardarelli with The University of Kentucky.

You can read more on the project here.