Sioux Falls Public Health Director discusses new survey for COVID-19 hesitancy

Published: Aug. 12, 2021 at 10:43 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The Sioux Falls Health Department and Augustana University are getting ready to work on a new COVID-19 survey aimed to find out why those in the city are hesitant to get the vaccine.

Augustana University will be conducting research that aims to get collect data from as many demographics as possible.

“It’s really a two-pronged study, we are going to be conducting a survey, we’re also going to be doing some listening sessions and focus with community leaders and community members,” said Suzanne Smith, Enterprise Data Analytics and the Augustana Research Institute Vice President.

Sioux Falls Director of Public Health, Dr. Charles Chima, says the definition of vulnerable for the COVID-19 virus has changed with the emergence of the Delta variant.

“We can see already that the cases are starting to jump up at a very high rate, so we’re concerned about that, we know it’s going to get worse in the next few weeks, in terms of the numbers of new infections, particularly because of the delta variant has shown to be more transmissible and more aggressive in the younger population,” said Dr. Chima.

Dr. Chima says the best way for people and their families to be protected is for everyone who can get vaccinated to do so, and this survey should help the Health Department know what to focus on to get people vaccinated.

“We need to know what those reasons are and we need to be able to focus our message around those reasons, so we’re not wasting our energy on the wrong approaches,” said Dr. Chima.

The survey was approved for up to $50,000, but those involved say the high price is just a cap and was set because they were unsure of the scale, they would need to go to collect the necessary data.

“We wanted the contract to be flexible to reflect that, so we could go as big or as small as we needed to get actionable information because the worst thing would be to get out there and do a study and not collect enough data to know what to do with it,” said Smith.

Those involved with the survey say if you are asked to do the survey to please do so, there are no right or wrong answers, their goal is just to collect as much data as possible.

More information on the COVID-19 vaccine can be found by clicking here.

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