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Poll reveals why many Northwest Arkansas residents aren't getting the COVID-19 vaccine

Last week, the Northwest Arkansas Council conducted a poll in Benton and Washington Counties to aid in COVID-19 messaging.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Lots of Arkansans are still hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine even as hospitalizations from the virus hit all-time highs. 

Last week, the Northwest Arkansas Council conducted a poll (view below) when the Arkansas legislature was in their special session discussing masks. The poll conducted called 413 registered voters, who live in Benton and Washington Counties, in hopes to help the organization with their vaccine messaging. 

Of the more than 400 people polled, the Northwest Arkansas Council found that 62% of people in Northwest Arkansas have been vaccinated. This rate is higher than in Alabama, where the vaccination rate is less than 38%. The poll resulted in 30% of the people polled who haven’t been vaccinated say they aren’t interested in getting the vaccine. 

“There are about 30% in there that are waiting to see based on safety and efficacy and we think that’s an area that we can probe deeper and try and get more of those individuals vaccinated,” said Nelson Peacock. 

President and CEO of the Northwest Arkansas Council, Nelson Peacock says they plan to get these people vaccinated with more personal communication. 

“Get local doctors talking to individuals about the vaccine and go through the data about the safety and efficacy," said Peacock. "That’s hopefully where we can start gearing our messaging and targeting messaging towards those individuals."

When it comes to masking, the poll revealed that almost 70% of people believe it’s the role of the local government and not the state's to implement masks mandates.

Peacock says there are about one-third of people who don’t want to be told to mask, social distance or get the vaccine. Peacock says they don’t know what to do about that one-third but thinks carefully crafted message can get through to the people who are undecided.

“Need trusted messengers to share with them that it is actually safe. That masking does work and that those are the best ways for us to get back to normal. That’s where I think we have to spend most of our time because I think there is just a third of the people that we aren’t going to be able to get to, at least in the near term,” he said. 

The Northwest Arkansas Council says they’ll continue the vaccine messaging with commercials and billboards. They also say they are really working with doctors and nurses to have more personal conversations with their patients about the vaccine. 

If you are interested in where to get the vaccine in Northwest Arkansas, click here. You can review the Northwest Arkansas Council's survey below. 

RELATED: Reports: FDA to authorize COVID vaccine booster shot for immunocompromised

RELATED: Arkansas sets another record-high number of COVID-19 hospitalizations for third day in a row

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