Health Advice



A day at a St. Louis County walk-in clinic shows why some vaccine holdouts are changing their minds

Michele Munz, St. Louis Post-Dispatch on

Published in Health & Fitness

A recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey of unvaccinated individuals shows the most wary come from a range of demographics: Republicans, rural residents, younger people and people of color. Some say the shots are too new or they are worried about the side effects. Others don't trust government or don't think they need it. Smaller numbers are worried about missing work or having to pay for the vaccine, even though it's free to everyone.

Those filing through the doors last Wednesday at John C. Murphy, the county's busiest walk-in site, provided a glimpse into what finally convinces the holdouts to decide to get vaccinated.

Some said they were nudged by friends who work in medical fields or their church clergy. They saw others around them do fine after their doses. They were finally able to do their own research into the vaccine myths circulating on social media and in backyard get-togethers.

Some got sick from COVID-19 and don't want to get that sick again. Others had to meet travel or work requirements that they get vaccinated. Many were frightened by the increasing hospitalizations — even among younger adults.

After getting her dose, Brooks took a seat in the room full of empty chairs where people wait during their 15-minute observation period. The stress of working hectic, short-staffed night shifts at Wendy's along with losing family had weighed her down. The shot helped a bit.

"I feel relieved," she said. "I feel much better."


'I have five kids'

Jesse Williams, 67, is lean and strong. He still works, rehabbing homes on his own. He and his friends had not been worried about their chances of dying from COVID-19.

They didn't bother getting the vaccine, Williams said, thinking they were going to die of something anyway.

In the past two months, however, he lost three friends to COVID-19. He's watched the news about hospitals filling up with unvaccinated patients. He realized his odds were getting worse.


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