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Rural Nebraska is less likely to get people on board with COVID vaccine

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    OMAHA, Nebraska (WOWT) — As parts of rural Nebraska start rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine to more and more people, new research shows people living in these areas are still less likely to get the shot than those in metropolitan areas.

6 News was in Fort Calhoun Monday hearing directly from those living in smaller communities.

“You might notice my hesitancy,” said Andy Petersen, after being asked if he’d get the vaccine when it’s available to the public. “I think there’s always a hesitation when something’s new.”

Once the Three Rivers Public Health Department is through Phase 1A of the vaccine rollout they’ll move on to those 65 and up; eventually reaching the general public.

While some are still on the fence, others have their minds made up, saying they don’t believe the vaccine is safe.

“I think it’s smart if people are willing to do it,” said Taylor Huettner. “It’s something we can do for humanity and also something we can do to protect our loved ones.”

The majority of people didn’t want to talk on-camera, but they have been discussing the vaccine.

“Over the last year we’ve been processing would we be interested in this? How safe is it? There’s a lot of information out there on conspiracy theories and ideas,” said Petersen.

Meanwhile, medical professionals are hoping they can get more people on board; it’ something that consistently came up when 6 News was at Memorial Community Hospital last month for their first round of shots.

“I think it will help me encourage people to get it because it was important for me to do,” said Theresa Goodwater, clinic nurse. “So hopefully it’s important for them too.”

And in some cases, it’s working.

“It made a big difference when our personal doctors got a vaccine, both our personal doctor and our pediatrician. We felt that we could trust that,” said Petersen.

The Kaiser Family Foundation released new research earlier this month showing about a third of people living in rural parts of the country said they probably wouldn’t get, or definitely won’t get the COVID vaccine. Compared to a quarter of people living in suburban and urban areas.

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