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Health group claims poll shows Kentucky has will to reach herd immunity

Published: Apr. 14, 2021 at 6:27 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - For months, experts have been laying out the goal of reaching herd immunity as a way to put an end to the coronavirus pandemic.

But, to do that, enough people have to opt-in to getting the vaccine to make a difference or get infected by the virus.

So, one Kentucky health group looked into whether that’s even possible with the amount of hesitancy in the commonwealth.

The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, and the University of Cincinnati, worked together to poll 800 people living in Kentucky between mid-February and mid-March.

The results showed that 71% of adult Kentuckians already have been vaccinated or planned to be.

Those under 18 aren’t included in that number.

The group estimates herd immunity to be achieved at between 70% and 85% of the population.

Organizers said, even in the face of events that may cause hesitancy, like the pause of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week, they believe Kentucky has the potential numbers, in terms of people willing to get the vaccine, to put an end to the pandemic.

“Just because we’re having some hiccups and some challenges as I’ve said, is not a reason to get discouraged,” Ben Chandler, President and CEO, Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, said. “I think we’ve got lots of hope here. I think this poll gives us hope. I think if we adopt the right strategies and measures, we’ve got a real shot at getting to where we need to be, to herd immunity.”

Chandler said he believes those hesitant to get the vaccine right now can be convinced to change their minds with time and more information.

According to the poll, half of those opposed to getting vaccinated said they’d be open to that.

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