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Why vaccine incentives aren’t enough for some Ohioans

OhioHealth says experts and others should address people’s concerns about COVID-19 vaccines with compassion.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A year and a half into masking up while hoping for a COVID vaccine  – and then asking people to get the vaccine – people continue to have concerns about getting their shot. 

On Thursday, Governor Mike DeWine announced the state’s “Vax-To-School” program to incentivize younger Ohioans to get a COVID-19 shot.  

Even with money on the table, there is still hesitancy among several Ohioans. 

Whether some believe there is not enough incentive yet, no amount of money ever being enough to get their shot, not trusting those encouraging vaccinations or just waiting for more research, doctors say they are seeing it all. 

"We are all part of the same community. We are brothers and sisters in the same community,” said OhioHealth’s infectious disease Doctor Joseph Gastaldo. 

“We need to respectfully engage everybody from a vantage point of caring and understanding." 

Dr. Gastaldo understands it can be really easy, especially for those without easy access to a doctor, to get lost in an online rabbit hole of misinformation. 

One common concern: The vaccines’ effect on people years in the future.  

 "We've had vaccines available for over 100 years,” said Dr. Gastaldo.  

“There has never been a vaccine which produces a toxic reaction years after receiving a vaccine." 

He said any adverse reactions would've come up four to six weeks after getting the shot, and researchers didn't find any in human trials. 

Infectious disease experts agree it's only a matter of time before COVID-19 becomes endemic, meaning there'll be enough people vaccinated and infection going around to have COVID be a normal part of life without it being life-threatening. 

However, Dr. Gastaldo said that shouldn't be an excuse for people to stay unvaccinated. 

"Even if you've been vaccinated, we are all going to have a date or an encounter with this virus” he said.” 

“When you have an encounter with this virus, the best layer of protection is the vaccine."

COVID-19 in Ohio: Recent Coverage ⬇️

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