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Governor brings COVID conversation to Batesville

Published: Jul. 12, 2021 at 9:49 PM CDT
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BATESVILLE, Ark. (KAIT) - Governor Asa Hutchinson was at the Batesville Community Center on Monday for a community COVID conversation. He says Independence County sets at just over 29% fully vaccinated, far away from the goal of 70%.

Hutchinson warns the delta variant is far more contagious and deadly. He says that should be incentive enough to get the vaccine.

Laura Kegley says this event changed her mind on the vaccine. Now she’s more open to receiving it.

“There’s a lot of misinformation out there, and it cleared some things up for me. There were doctors in the audience. They asked some very good questions I had and was probably too afraid to ask,” said Kegley.

Kegley explains she already had COVID-19 and thought she didn’t need the vaccine.

“I didn’t understand why the vaccine would be better than already having the full-fledged virus because to me, I already had the antibodies for it, but apparently, this vaccine would give me the added antibodies that I don’t have,” said Kegley.

Other topics were discussed, like concerns about schools starting back in the fall and children receiving the vaccine.

“But if we do not increase the vaccination rate, what kind of school year are we going to have with the delta variant that is out there? We have an urgent moment in time to increase that over the next 30 days,” said Gov. Hutchinson.

Hutchinson adds he thinks the government has done everything they can do to improve rates. Now it’s up to the individual. He is hopeful that events like these will help.

“It will still be a challenge because there’s some hardcore that we see that’s not going to get a vaccine regardless. I think it is a minority, and you’ve got to go after those that are just simply hesitant, have more questions, or that have put it off,” said Hutchinson.

Kegley says the event was a good effort.

“He didn’t have to do that, and he did it. He came to a small crowd. I thought it was a good thing to do, and I came away with a different opinion,” said Kegley.

Raman Kutty, a medical resident at White River Medical Center, says that education is the best tool, and he hopes this event will reduce vaccine hesitancy.

“What we hope that is more people coming here will sort of lead to more of a conversation about the vaccines, how safe they are, what the efficacy is, and we hope that education will translate into reducing the number of people that have to be hospitalized,” said Kutty.

On Tuesday, Hutchinson will travel to Blytheville for a community conversation at 12 p.m. in the Chickasaw Arena at the Blytheville High School, 600 N. 10th St.

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