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A Jackson, Mississippi, resident receives a Pfizer booster shot from a nurse at a vaccination site Feb. 8, 2022.

To solve a problem, you must know the facts. Even though we sometimes poke fun at studies and research that seem to reveal the obvious, scientific study is the way to find the truth about many situations.

Even if something seems obvious, we might be fooled unless there is scientific research to prove our premise.

That’s why a five-year study about COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in eastern Kentucky is important.

University of Kentucky College of Public Health researchers are working with investigators from the UK College of Medicine, the UK College of Communication and Information and the Kentucky Department for Public Health to conduct the study, called Kentuckians Vaccinating Appalachian Communities to understand why vaccinations in our area have been lower than other parts of the state and country.

It’s important to understand why many in our area experience vaccine hesitancy, as many eastern Kentuckians live in isolated areas with limited access to health care. Many of our residents have chronic illnesses which could complicate the effects of COVID-19, raising the risk of mortality.

One of the most important aspects to the project is community-based interactions and communication.

We believe this study will be revealing. Participants will be more likely to discuss their feelings with researchers who communicate on a personal level and without judgment.

We hope the results will enable the medical community to communicate with the public better in the future; COVID-19 remains present on our community and must be dealt with for the sake of those with compromising health conditions and in the likely event other viruses pose a similar threat in the future.

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