COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy is still a major issue concerning health care providers

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Millions of North Carolina residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. But a large portion of the population is still hesitant about getting the shot.

In the months since the first COVID-19 shot was given last December, more than 51 million people have been fully vaccinated across the country.

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Despite the growing numbers, there are still a lot people who don’t feel comfortable getting the vaccine.

Local health experts are working hard to ease those fears.

“A lot of that information they have, they rely on information let’s say from a friend or maybe incorrect posts or social media,” physician assistant Ann-Marrie Llanes said. “That’s, I think, a big problem.”

But Llanes feels misinformation and fear isn’t the only thing driving vaccine hesitancy.

“The Hispanic community, there’s a language barrier there,” Llanes continued. “So sometimes they have questions. If they have certain fears or misconceptions, they can’t really communicate that.”

Doctors with Wilmington Health say a recent study shows nearly a third of the country is still experiencing COVID-19 vaccine concerns.

“That number was quite disheartening from a primary care doctor who speaks to his patients everyday about vaccines and their safety and effectiveness,” doctor Ryan Dougherty said.

While health officials say they have noticed an improvement, they feel hesitancy is still an issue.

“There’s still concerns that I receive from patients,” Dougherty said. “Part of our job here is to reassure those so they can feel comfortable and make the right decision for both them and their families.”

If you still have concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine, officials say a quick talk with your health provider can be a simple solution.

“We all wanna be safe and get through this together,” Dougherty added. “I think having these conversations can be really helpful.”

To view information from Wilmington Health on the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine, you can view that here.