Vaccination efforts continue as some people decline to receive it

Posted at 2:44 PM, Feb 22, 2021

NORFOLK, Va. - Vaccination efforts are continuing in Virginia while it appears some are declining to get inoculated.

Last week, top military leaders told members of Congress about two-thirds of military members had agreed to vaccinated, meaning about a third are declining the voluntary shot.

"We're basically seeing a mirroring of American society," Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters last week.

White House Medical Adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci has said 85-percent of Americans need to be vaccinated to reach true herd immunity. So far, surveys and information show that high bar does not appear to be being met.

A recent study from the Kaiser Family Foundation found about half of people want a vaccine as soon as possible with another 31-percent wanting to wait and see.

Military leaders say they're not sure why some service members aren't getting a shot. "We think it's important for our department to continue to communicate to service members the value of the vaccine and the safety of the vaccine with continued leadership involvement to help our service members understand that," said Air Force Maj. Gen. Jeff Taliaferro.

Locally,the Navy offered vaccines to any Sailor aboard the USS Eisenhower before the ship left on another deployment last week with estimates finding out 80-percent were getting the vaccine.

Healthcare systems were the first to receive vaccines in Virginia back in December. Since then, they've now vaccinated more than 650,000 people, according to the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association.

In Hampton Roads, about 58-percent of employees at the largest healthcare group, Sentara, have now been vaccinated, a Sentara spokesperson said. Additional clinics are being held this week, so that number should be rising.

Still, getting a vaccine remains largely voluntary whether it be in the military or the private sector. "It's a voluntary vaccine. People decide for themselves if they want it or not and we have to respect that decision making process," said Kirby.

Click here for more coronavirus coverage.