Ways to curb vaccine hesitancy among seniors

Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 9:56 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - As the fight against the Coronavirus continues, local experts say many of our seniors are holding back on getting vaccinated.

“We’ve seen how this disease has impacted us worldwide but even in our own community.”

Shelby Hunt, RN, Emergency Services Director at Northern Nevada Medical Center

According to the Washoe County Health District, only about 43.9% of seniors in Washoe County have been given the shot. The others may be feeling skeptical about it.

“So many of them have other underlying health conditions and we have seen that with this disease, they are impacted the most,” said Shelby Hunt, Registered Nurse and Emergency Services Director at Northern Nevada Medical Center (NNMC).

Hunt says fear of the vaccine and its side effects are common reasons behind hesitancy. She added, “Any vaccine, any medication has some side effects. The effects of not getting the vaccine are significantly higher and can lead to death and other complications and problems.”

Her advice is to ask similarly-aged friends or people you trust who have already received it about their experience.

“Find out what worked for them, how did they schedule it, how did they feel,” Hunt said.

She also says lack of vaccine knowledge and appointment frustrations also tend to turn our older community members away.

Hunt added, “Any senior that doesn’t have immediate access or doesn’t feel that they understand computers, please reach out to your family members or reach out to your providers.”

Hunt says immunized Nevadans ages 65 and older will help us all return to normalcy.

“We can start opening up in our community the more people are vaccinated.”

Shelby Hunt, RN, Emergency Services Director at Northern Nevada Medical Center

Whether you have received the shot or not, it’s crucial to continue wearing a mask, washing your hands, and social distancing until everyone is safe.

For more information about COVID-19 in Washoe County, click here.

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