Even as coronavirus restrictions dwindle and cases decrease, there is a disturbing trend in regard to the battle against the pandemic.

As of Thursday, only 35% of the Warren County population had been vaccinated, according to the Kentucky COVID-19 vaccination dashboard.

The entire southcentral Kentucky region is lagging when it comes to vaccinations, with Simpson County at 38%, Logan 36%, Butler 34%, Edmonson 29%, Hart 26%, Barren 34% and Allen 30%.

That puts all of southcentral Kentucky well below the state as a whole, where about 47% of the population is vaccinated.

By comparison to southcentral Kentucky, counties like Woodford (62%), Franklin (61%) and Fayette (59%) have almost double the vaccination rate of local counties.

Nationally, about 53% of Americans are fully vaccinated.

The disappointingly low local numbers are despite the presence for several months of massive vaccination sites in Bowling Green at Greenwood Mall, The Medical Center and other entities offering vaccinations.

The reasons for the disappointing numbers are not clear. Certainly there are the totally unfounded rumors/conspiracy theories about the vaccines that do not bear repeating.

But those false stories are nationwide and should not be gaining any traction in southcentral Kentucky.

Whatever the reasons for the local vaccination hesitancy, the numbers must improve.

With eased restrictions and the number of cases dwindling, it is easy to think the need for vaccinations is over.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

While we have seen remarkable progress on vaccinations that have led to dwindling case numbers, each day in Kentucky sees hundreds of new coronavirus cases. It’s important to remember the human toll of this pandemic. Since it began a little more than a year ago, almost 500 southcentral Kentuckians have lost their lives to coronavirus, including more than 160 in Warren County alone.

The only way to ensure that COVID is behind us – and stays that way – is to get as many people vaccinated as possible.

Fortunately, getting vaccinated now is much easier than it was in the midst of the pandemic, with ample supplies of vaccines now across the state.

Most local pharmacies and area health departments are offering vaccines with little or no wait required.

We have overcome the worst of the pandemic, but now is the time to finish the job. That entails the simple step of getting vaccinated.

“Our Opinion” pieces in the Bowling Green Daily News exclusively represent the majority opinion of the newspaper’s editorial board and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoints or beliefs of any other Daily News employees.

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