Lafayette, LA - Vaccination rates in rural Louisiana are behind the state’s urban areas. A new grassroots campaign is working to change that.
"There are people who still have a lot of questions about vaccinations and who might not have an opportunity to ask those questions," said Regional Medical Director for region 4, Dr. Tine Stefanski.
Answering questions for residents like Andrew Swearengin is exactly what the ‘Bring Back Louisiana’ Covid-19 Vaccine campaign aims to do.
"If there were more like, I don’t know, I feel like I’d need it to be out a little bit longer in my personal opinion, it needs to be out longer," said Swearengin.
Doctor Tina Stefanski says providing more education about the vaccine is one of the key elements to the success of this campaign. "In order to really make sure this vaccine is available to everyone, it’s not just about a matter of setting up a vaccination site or offering vaccination sites in our communities. It’s also about really making sure people have the information they need to make good decisions."
The statewide grassroots campaign will be a collaborative effort between healthcare experts and those living in the communities which they’re targeting.
"I think we all respond best to individuals we know and trust. So that is really a grassroots campaign so it’s going to be individuals from that community making those connections and talking with people and helping to answer their questions," Stefanski said in regard to the team effort required for the campaign.
Saint Martin Parish is the first stop for the campaign in the Acadiana region. Parish President Chester Cedars says he is thrilled. "I’m excited to have the opportunity to participate. I think it’s going to be a very worthwhile endeavor and I look forward to producing a great deal of fruition in terms of encouraging people to receive the Covid-19 vaccination."
Despite not being vaccinated yet, Swearengin says he's still willing to do so. "See what’s going on with people, what’s happening after they take it, if there’s any side effects or anything. I don’t know, if it came down to it, I probably would get it."
Several people I spoke with who were vaccinated, said they were hesitant until learning more. Those I spoke to who haven’t gotten vaccinated, told me they’re willing to learn more.