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WEST PLAINS, Mo. – Missouri has the nation’s fourth-worst COVID-19 diagnosis rate over the past week, with one in every 360 people diagnosed with COVID-19. One doctor says that some Missourians are getting the vaccine while in disguise.

Ozarks Healthcare posted a video clip to their Facebook page with this caption,” Dr. Priscilla Frase, hospitalist and Chief Medical Information Officer (CMIO) at Ozarks Healthcare, explains the importance of knowing the facts about COVID-19 vaccines along with the safety and confidentiality of the vaccination process at Ozarks Healthcare.”

“I work closely with our pharmacists who are leading our vaccine efforts through our organization. One of them told me the other day that they have had several people who have come in to get vaccinated who have kind of tried to disguise their appearance. They even went so far as to say, ‘Please, please, please, don’t let anybody know that I got this vaccine. I don’t want my friends to know. I don’t want to get COVID. I want to get the vaccine.’

“They are very concerned about if people that they love, people within their family, friendship circles, and work circles would find out if they got the vaccine. Nobody should feel that type of pressure to get something that they want. We should all be free to do what we want to do. That includes people who don’t want to get the vaccine as well as people who do want to get the vaccine. We have to stop ridiculing people who do or don’t want to get the vaccine like you see on social media in so many posts and just get the right information out there,” said Dr. Frase.

Vaccinations are beginning to rise in some states where COVID-19 cases are soaring, White House officials said last week in a sign that the summer surge is getting the attention of vaccine-hesitant Americans as hospitals in the South are being overrun with patients.

Coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients told reporters that several states with the highest proportions of new infections have seen residents get vaccinated at higher rates than the nation as a whole. Officials cited Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri and Nevada as examples.

“For those people like those coming in hiding. Get the vaccine. Do what you have to do. Utilize facemasks and cover yourself up and go get it. Don’t worry about what your family members think if you want the vaccine. Don’t end up like some of the patients I’ve taken care of who are really sick and get to a point where they are asking me if they are going to die. I can’t answer that question for them beyond saying I will do everything I can do to keep it from happening.

In Missouri, which is second only to Arkansas and Louisiana in the number of new cases per capita over the past 14 days, officials have rolled out a vaccine incentive program that includes $10,000 prizes for 900 lottery winners. The state lags about 10 percentage points behind the national average for people who have received at least one shot.

Hospitals in the Springfield area are under strain, reaching pandemic high and near pandemic high numbers of patients.

Most Americans who haven’t been vaccinated against COVID-19 say they are unlikely to get the shots and doubt they would work against the aggressive delta variant despite evidence they do, according to a new poll that underscores the challenges facing public health officials amid soaring infections in some states.

Among American adults who have not yet received a vaccine, 35% say they probably will not, and 45% say they definitely will not, according to a poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Just 3% say they definitely will get the shots, though another 16% say they probably will.