Gov. Tom Wolf addressed Pennsylvanians’ vaccine hesitancy to receive the COVID-19 shot Friday during a visit to the Penn State Health vaccination clinic in Hershey. Wolf and acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam urged residents Friday morning to measure the risks and make an appointment as soon as possible.
More than 25,000 people have been vaccinated at the site, but a growing number of appointments are available. Some people are worried after the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was put on pause this week because of reported blood clot issues in six women.
According to Wgal, Wolf and Beam discussed vaccine hesitancy in the wake of the pause in administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is also known as the Janssen vaccine, due to rare blood clots in six women, including one from Pennsylvania.
“Too early to say that, statistically, the Johnson & Johnson pause is causing any increase in hesitancy, but hesitancy was an issue that we’ve been looking at right from day one. It was covered by the fact that the supply wasn’t up to demand,“ Wolf said.
“We’re not seeing an uptick in waste. The appointment availability does give us cause for concern because that’s indicative of the hesitancy,” Beam said.
In an effort to avoid vaccine hesitancy, the state is working on a public relations campaign of digital, print and social media advertising starting this month to encourage residents to get immunized as soon as possible.
Acting Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson recognizes vaccine hesitancy, saying the messenger is just as important as the message from the state.
Someone who speaks their language
“Some people want to hear the message from someone who looks like them. Someone wants to hear the message from someone who speaks their language,” Johnson said. “So our outreach is going to be very broad and cover all of those areas.”
According to data aggregated Thursday by the New York Times, Pennsylvania ranks 10th nationally with 41% of the population receiving at least one shot and 25th nationally with 24% fully vaccinated. Some experts believe between 70% and 90% of the population need to acquire resistance to achieve herd immunity.