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COVID vaccination rates will start to settle, why hesitancy isn't the only reason why

The White House COVID Response Team says 100 million Americans are now fully vaccinated.

MINNEAPOLIS — Daily vaccination rates will start to settle soon enough, if they haven't already. Health experts say it could have less to do with people hesitant to get the vaccine and more about what's preventing them from being able to access it.

Local organizations are having to turn to different techniques to reach more people. For example, Living Word Church in northeast Minneapolis, will host its first vaccination event May 10 right in the gathering area. 

"We have 100 spots for anyone in the community anywhere to come here to get their vaccine," said Sharon Ford, who is the daughter of the church's pastor.

The only problem? Ford says just six people have signed-up for the shot. 

"A couple weeks ago, a month ago maybe, people were lined up trying to find where they could get a shot and now it's like plateaued," she said. 

A history of medical abuses, no doubt, has some African Americans hesitant to get vaccinated. But health experts say it's also crucial to remove barriers.

Ford hopes their evening event caters to people otherwise afraid to miss work and the church is on a bus line. 

"Even if they don't have transportation, they can reach out and maybe we can provide transportation," said Ford. "We don't want that to be the reason you don't get vaccinated."

Two-hundred miles north on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation, Public Health Director Vince Rock says nearly 12,000 doses there have been doled out, but demand at their clinics has since dried up. 

"I think they'd be more willing to get the vaccinations if they're in front of them," said Vince Rock. "It's got to be a convenience thing now, you know."

Rock plans to deploy two trailers in May directly to rural neighborhoods that are sometimes 60 miles from town that have no phone service or community center. He's hoping to hone in on young people he says are more hesitant.

More than 2,000 Ojibwa are still eligible to get the vaccine on the reservation. 

"There are many reasons, one being trust," said Rock, who's on a mission, like Ford, to also combat misinformation. 

"I did it, I was hesitant, I'm still here, nothing happened," said Ford, laughing. "Come out and get it!"

The vaccination event at Living Word Church is on Monday, May 10. It's from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. It's also the same location where you would get your second dose on June 7. 

For more information and to book an appointment, click here.