Concerns about COVID vaccine hesitancy in Algoma

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Health officials in Algoma say COVID-19 vaccination rates are good, with a large percentage of those eligible opting to get their shot.

However, there is still some hesitancy among some people about getting the vaccine.

At Sault Area Hospital, around 85 per cent of the 1,000 staff members offered the COVID-19 vaccine have accepted it. However, senior physicians, say there are still some hold-outs.

“It seems it’s just uncertainty about the safety of the vaccine itself,” said Dr. Lucas Castellani. “Given the pace of everything, some people have concerns, those seem to be the main things. Other people sometimes equate prior reactions to other drugs or vaccinations as a potential risk for them acquiring this vaccine.”

Castellani said education is key to alleviating people’s concerns about the vaccine.

“We’re doing everything we can to capture the last 15 per cent and debunking, if you will, some of the myths and some of the concerns that individuals have, most of which aren’t totally founded by evidence or literature,” he said.

Lilliana Bressan, a public health specialist with Algoma Public Health, said vaccine hesitancy is normal and expected.

“Our biggest point, and I think the most important piece to remember, is that it’s important to ask questions, and also seek out those really reliable and credible resources for answers so that you can move from a position of being vaccine hesitant to vaccine confident,” Bressan said.