covid-19 vaccine

Northern Virginia Counties Promote Vaccines as Rates Stall

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Spotsylvania County's health department is open for walk-in vaccines, but there are no lines anymore as the pace of vaccinations in some Northern Virginia counties has stalled. Only about 20 people came in for shots on Monday.

"Hesitancy is a word that's used a lot. We’re not running into hesitancy so much as apathy. There are a lot of people who feel that 'I’m young and healthy. This isn't really going to be a big deal for me," said Mary Chamberlin, spokesperson for the Rappahannock Health District.

In Loudoun and Fairfax counties, about 70% of the adult population is fully vaccinated.

But in the outer suburbs south and west of the D.C. region, the vaccination rate drops dramatically. About 53% of adults are fully vaccinated in Stafford and Spotsylvania counties, while 56% are vaccinated in Culpeper County and 61% in Fauquier County. Only about 46% of adults are vaccinated in Warren County.

Health officials in Fauquier County and beyond are turning to community leaders now, hoping they can help bump up the vaccination rates

"From my heart to yours, I say to you, please get the shot," Pastor Tyronne Champion of Truel Deliverance Ministries says in a public service announcement for VaccinatePiedmont.com.

Doctors and faith leaders in the region have recorded PSAs encouraging people to get vaccinated.

"We have folks that have heard and listened and said, 'Wow, my doctor recommended, my church recommended, my family member got this vaccine and they are okay and so I'm going to make my appointment," said April Achter with the Rappahannock-Rapidan Health District.

In the health district that covers Stafford and Spotsylvania, officials are focused on continued education to battle misinformation.

"We’re always trying to make sure our residents have accurate, trusted information," Chamberlin said.

Outreach teams plan to make appearances soon at places like sports tournaments and back-to-school events to answer questions and encourage vaccinations.

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