A new poll shows a drop in the number of unvaccinated Kentuckians who say they’re unwilling to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky conducted the poll of 512 people between Aug. 4 and Sept. 4 showing that 20% of respondents said they would “probably” or “definitely” not get the vaccine. That’s down from 29% of people surveyed in March.
Ben Chandler, the president of the nonprofit and a former congressman, said the decrease shows people are taking the virus more seriously as it surges again.
“I really think personally that the delta variant has more to do with changing people’s minds than anything else,” Chandler said.
But still, more than one-third of people who haven’t gotten the vaccine say nothing will motivate them to change their minds, according to the poll. 14.2% of unvaccinated respondents said they want more time and research to be conducted before they would get the shot.
Chandler said people are locked in their own news sources, some of which have been spreading misinformation about the vaccine and virus.
“You could tell them almost anything, and they are pretty set on the notion that they’re not going to get the vaccine,” Chandler said.
“I think a whole lot of people that are trying to get people vaccinated are just pulling their hair out on this subject trying to figure out what on earth we’re going to do to get these people vaccinated.”
The poll showed that overall, 70% of respondents think it’s a good idea for schools to require children to wear masks, but results were split depending on vaccination status. 79% of vaccinated people said schools should require masks compared to 45% of unvaccinated people.
50.3% of Kentucky’s population is fully vaccinated, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Kentucky lawmakers just wrapped up a special legislative session to renew the state of emergency related to the virus, set aside more relief funding and ban the state from instituting statewide mask mandates.
During the session, several lawmakers repeated debunked conspiracy theories about the virus and expressed doubts about its effectiveness.
Leaders of the Republican-led legislature made it clear they were not in favor of requiring people to get the vaccine.
The state’s hospitals are overrun with coronavirus patients, the vast majority of whom are unvaccinated.
The surge has strained hospital resources and staff—as of Thursday there are only 93 intensive care unit beds available across the entire state and 66 of the state’s 96 hospitals are reporting critical staffing shortages.