Beshear ‘open’ to relaxing COVID restrictions before vaccination goal as hesitancy delays progress

In Louisville, some say they were still hesitant before their shot
Updated: May. 4, 2021 at 11:50 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - As hesitancy continues to impact the pace of vaccination, Gov. Andy Beshear said he was “open” to relaxing Kentucky’s COVID restrictions, even before reaching the state’s target of 2.5 million first doses administered.

More than 1.8 million people, or 41% of Kentucky’s total population, have already received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine.

Monday, Beshear called for Kentuckians to “redouble efforts” to vaccinate more people; he clarified younger age groups trailed behind in vaccinations. Despite the slow progress, Beshear indicated he could lift some COVID guidelines ahead of meeting the vaccination challenge.

“We are open to relaxing certain restrictions before then, and indeed we have,” he said. “We were able to relax travel guidance to those that are vaccinated. We were able already to increase the indoor capacity to 60% for things like restaurants, retail, and others. We were able to increase capacity for stadiums and arenas, outside and indoors. We were able to relax our mask mandate.”

A recent Gallup poll found that 26% of Americans said they would not take an FDA-approved COVID vaccine, even if it were free.

In Louisville, even some who have received a vaccination told WAVE 3 News they had a great deal of hesitancy before getting the shot.

“I called everybody, I talked to a nurse practitioner and I wasn’t satisfied with what she told me,” Yolanda Harbison said. " I ended up calling my cousin in Colorado. I was like, ‘How did you feel?’ I wanted to know did she have any different feelings because she has some health issues.”

Harbison said she ultimately felt confident enough to receive the vaccine. Tuesday, she got her second dose at UofL’s Cardinal Stadium vaccination site; she said she is now encouraging others to do the same.

“You should get it. It’s going to help you in the end. It’s going to protect you as much as possible,” she said.

Shepherd Ahlers told WAVE 3 News he “almost cried” from excitement when he received his COVID vaccine; he said he didn’t wait to sign up for his shot but he has friends and family he wants to convince.

“It’s a personal choice, I will continue to talk to them about my experience with it ... I got the vaccine because I love them,” he said.

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