Russo: various reasons why people aren't vaccinated

"There needs to be more tailored messaging"

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) With the COVID cases on the rise across the nation, an intense amount of pressure remains on getting the unvaccinated to take action and get the vaccine.

Politically, there is also a great deal of attention placed on Republicans who have held out on getting vaccinated, many of whom live in rural and outlying areas.

But, in reality, the unvaccinated population is a diverse one and varies from one community to the next, say medical officials.

Dr. Tom Russo with the University of Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine says diversity among vaccinated rates is also evident across the country. "The northeast, has higher vaccinated rates than the southern states. Even in the more vaccinated states, there are those not fully vaccinated who are at risk for the delta variant, which is highly contagious," says Russo.

In Erie County, Lancaster's 14086 zip code has a nearly 83 percent vaccination rate, while 14004 in Alden, the next town over, has a rate of 55 percent. "There tends to be higher vaccination rates among people who have four year degrees. Perhaps that's because they're better informed of the overwhelming benefits versus the risks. It's also because of what their source for information is," explains Russo. He notes the matter has been politicized, but that's not the only reason for the hesitancy in getting the vaccine.

Russo says more tailored messaging is needed. "It's best done on the individual level, and best with a someone that particular person trusts, whether it's their primary care physician or a well informed person in their community or inner circle," says Russo. "Once you get some insight as to why that person has yet to be vaccinated, then you can move forward, validate why they've been hesitant, then direct them why you think it's a good idea, personal safety, health of loved ones, and for the betterment of the community."

Russo says half the population in the US is fully vaccinated, and the people not vaccinated are diverse as are the locations where they live.