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VACCINE HESITANCY: Pharmacies notice shorter lines as fewer people in Med City sign up to get shots

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COVID vaccine at Rochester Community Pharmacy

ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) - More than 2.3 million Minnesotans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, which is 52 percent of the eligible population.

However, with variants of the virus still spreading around the state and vaccine hesitancy, there is cause for concern.

Here in Rochester, we spoke with a pharmacist about whether they are seeing fewer people eager to roll up their sleeves.

"We've seen a tremendous slowdown, which is disheartening and unfortunate," said Sandy Hunt, volunteer at Rochester Community Pharmacy.

The situation is far different from back in late March.

"We had 40 people standing in the parking lot waiting and being called in by numbers," Hunt recalls. "Now, it's just the polar opposite."

More than 40 percent of Olmsted County is fully vaccinated.

"Yeah, I got my second dose Saturday," said RCTC student athlete Darion Lee.

He could have gotten it sooner.

"I was hesitant at first," Lee admits. "Then I just went on and got it. I can't be one saying to get the vaccine and I'm not taking accountability myself and doing so."

One RCTC student say she was anxious to get it after arriving in Minnesota a few months ago.

"Initially, it was little hard to find. I kept checking. That's how I found a slot and I moved very quickly," said RCTC student Kanchan Panesar.

Many others who are on the fence about the vaccine have still not gotten a dose.

"I don't know what's in it. I don't know what it's going to do," said RCTC student Izzy Iverson. "I haven't gotten it so far so I think I'll be fine without it."

More than just Minnesotans or young people feel the same as Iverson.

"I come from India. A lot back of people back in India are still in a dilemma about whether to get it or not," Panesar said. "They're hearing a lot of stories about people who have gotten sick."

So what if someone who is unvaccinated gets sick?

"I mean if I do, I'll obviously quarantine and do what I need to do," Iverson said. "I don't want anyone else to get it but I really don't care if I get it or not. I just don't."

Rochester Public Pharmacy has received calls from people in the Twin Cities metro area calling for appointments due to the limited availability of the vaccine there.

Pharmacy staff encourages anyone who needs a first or second dose to come by their Elton Hills Drive location where vaccine is offered on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Alex Tejada

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