ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) -- Rural health departments are doing their best to try to overcome vaccine hesitancy, reach their most vulnerable people and convince them to roll up their sleeves.

The Lincoln Trail District Health Department is hosting COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics for Vulnerable Populations that will give priority to people of color, minority ethnic groups, and those who may lack financial security.

"People of color, people of ethnic minority groups, they're more likely, if they get COVID, to suffer more severe illness and more likely to die," said Terrie Burgan, the health department's public information officer. "Their risk of dying is 1.65 times greater than someone who is not a person of color."

The health department covers six counties — Hardin, LaRue, Marion, Meade, Nelson, and Washington — that are mostly in rural areas where many people face barriers to seeing a doctor.

"It may be a little bit harder for people to have access to healthcare, because for example, they don't have transportation or they can't leave work because missing a paycheck or missing those hours would be a detriment to their households," Burgan explained.

The health department is also trying to fight vaccine hesitancy.

"For those who are hesitating, I really wish they would consider the benefits (of the vaccine) and the facts related to COVID," said Burgan.

She encourages people to do research on reputable websites, like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or local health department, and reminds people of some of the benefits of being vaccinated.

"If you are fully vaccinated and you don't have symptoms, and you were exposed to someone who has COVID, you can continue to go to work," she said.

The clinics are free. Registration for upcoming vaccine clinics in the Lincoln Trail District can be found at ltdhd.org. Appointments can also be made by calling 270-769-1601.

Appointments are closed for Tuesday's vulnerable population clinic in Elizabethtown. The health department will host another one on Thursday, May 13 in Washington County.

Individuals age 16 and older are eligible to be vaccinated. Minors must be accompanied by a parent/guardian.

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