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Kentucky Sports Radio Hosts Promote COVID-19 Vaccines In Paducah

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Courtesy of Tyler Glick
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Kentucky Sports Radio hosts inside the Carson Center in downtown Paducah.

A popular sports radio show visited western Kentucky on Wednesday as a part of a statewide tour to promote COVID-19 vaccines in more vaccine-hesitant communities in the state.

A small crowd gathered inside the Carson Center in downtown Paducah to hear a live broadcast of Kentucky Sports Radio, alongside a pop-up vaccine clinic for those interested in receiving a shot.

Kentucky Sports Radio host Matt Jones said building trust in the vaccines is crucial to encouraging more Kentuckians to get a shot, with untrustworthy sources of information online and elsewhere about the vaccine creating hesitancy for some people. He said considering his radio show’s reach across the state, he wanted to visit some of the more vaccine-hesitant regions of the state to show support for the vaccinations.

Jones also said people may trust him and his co-hosts’ message about getting a vaccine compared to other messengers. Increasing vaccinations is especially important as the state’s final COVID-19 related capacity limits for businesses are lifted Friday, he said.

“I think that people have craved normalcy. They’re going to be ‘normal’ now one way or another, and so now the best thing that can happen is for as many people to be vaccinated as possible. And so as people are being ‘normal’ we can control some of the spread,” Jones said.

The radio show, in partnership with the Kentucky Association of Health Plans, has already held live broadcasts of the show and pop-up vaccine clinics in Barren County and Green County, with future stops Thursday and Friday in Clay County and Laurel County, respectively.

“We think that it’s important for folks to get vaccinated, to get the shot, not just for yourself but for those around you and loved ones,” said Tom Stephens, executive director for the Kentucky Association of Health Plans, a trade association representing health insurance companies in the state.

State health data show about 47% of Kentuckians are vaccinated. Three of the five counties with the lowest vaccination rates in the state are in western Kentucky: Ballard, Hickman and Christian counties, with less than 25% of residents vaccinated.

Some businesses have offered incentives to get a COVID-19 vaccine, and Gov. Andy Beshear announced a series of lottery drawings last week for those who receive a vaccination.

"Liam Niemeyer is a reporter for the Ohio Valley Resource covering agriculture and infrastructure in Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia and also serves Assistant News Director at WKMS. He has reported for public radio stations across the country from Appalachia to Alaska, most recently as a reporter for WOUB Public Media in Athens, Ohio. He is a recent alumnus of Ohio University and enjoys playing tenor saxophone in various jazz groups."
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