Tempe working to tackle COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, get more people vaccinated

Posted at 8:10 AM, Aug 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-17 13:11:34-04

TEMPE, AZ — The city of Tempe is ramping up its COVID-19 vaccination efforts after a recent survey revealed why some residents are hesitant to get the shot.

When the city asked unvaccinated residents what their concerns were, they found at least 80% were worried about long-term side effects.

Unvaccinated residents also wanted more information to help them make their decision, as well as more evening and weekend vaccine opportunities.

However, the city says research found that unvaccinated residents believe health care professionals are the most trustworthy source for information.

The city now plans on using people in the community to help get the word out about the COVID-19 vaccine. These individuals include doctors, teachers, and student ambassadors in schools.

They also plan on holding more free vaccination events in the 85281 zip code. The city says the zip code, which covers neighborhoods around Tempe Town Lake and Arizona State University, has the highest rates of COVID-19 and the lowest rates of vaccination in Tempe.

Katherin Kouvelas-Edick is the founder of Aris Foundation. Every Tuesday, she organizes a meal event for the homeless community at Jaycee Park. This Tuesday, they will have healthcare workers available to give the COVID-19 vaccine as well.

Kouvelas-Edick says many experiencing homelessness have expressed their hesitancy about the vaccine.

“They’re scared, they’re not used to trusting the government, they’re not used to trusting the medical profession," she said. "So for them, they’re like, no I’d rather take my chances with COVID, and then you have the other groups who are more open so they’ll ask questions."

Kouvelas-Edick says she will be handing out flyers to individuals who miss Tuesday's event.

For more information about future vaccination events, click here.