LOUISVILLE, KY (September 20, 2021) – At the kick-off of the annual Howard L. Bost Memorial Health Policy Forum, presented by Aetna Better Health of Kentucky, Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky President and CEO Ben Chandler called declining public trust in vaccines a burgeoning crisis.

“Here in Kentucky, we are at risk of unraveling 50 years of vaccine policy that has protected us from devastating infectious disease with life-long effects,” Chandler said. “Even a small decline in the number of parents who decide to get their children vaccinated for diseases such as measles, mumps, polio or chickenpox puts us at risk of a potential outbreak.”

The Bost Forum, held virtually, this year will focus on vaccine uptake, hesitancy, and effective strategies for increasing immunization rates for vaccines in general, as well as specifically the COVID-19 vaccine. Highlights will include Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack presenting a State of Vaccines in Kentucky, and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra will discuss COVID-19 vaccine efforts.

The Foundation’s Vaccines in Kentucky Poll shows progress has been made in decreasing vaccine hesitancy when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine. Results released last week show efforts have lowered the hesitancy rate by roughly one-third over six months.

Other insights from the poll show include:

Recommended Vaccines

  • Seven-in-10 Kentucky adults agree strongly or somewhat that all routine vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are beneficial.
  • Four-out-of-five Kentuckians agree strongly or somewhat that being vaccinated is important for the health of others in the community.
  • Ninety percent of Kentuckians believe getting vaccinated is a good way to protect themselves from disease.

Flu Vaccine

  • Two-thirds of Kentuckians are very likely or somewhat likely to get the flu vaccine by the end of this year.
  • Nearly one-in-three people who have not gotten the COVID-19 vaccine say they’re very or somewhat likely to get the flu shot this year.

Childhood Vaccines

  • Three-in-five Kentuckians think all children should be required to be vaccinated.
  • This drops to 50 precent among adults who live with children in their household.

  • Eighty-five percent of Kentuckians are somewhat or very comfortable with the children in their household receiving recommended childhood vaccines.
  • Comparing those who received the COVID-19 vaccine to those who didn’t, 92 percent of people who received the COVID-19 vaccine were somewhat or very comfortable with their children receiving recommended vaccines, while only 73 percent of those who did not receive the COVID-19 vaccine were comfortable with their children receiving recommended vaccines.

The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky commissioned the Vaccines in Kentucky Poll. It was conducted August 4 – September 4, 2021, by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati. More than 500 adults from throughout Kentucky were polled by telephone. The poll includes a +/- 4.3 percent margin of error. Read the briefs here. Graphics may be downloaded here. 

The 2021 Howard L. Bost Memorial Health Policy Forum, presented by Aetna Better Health of Kentucky, is September 20 – 21. Registration is still open and the Forum is free. Click here for more information.