LETHBRIDGE, ALTA. -- In the race to vaccinate those who are eligible, some of the province's rural communities are well behind the eight ball compared to other cities.

In Lethbridge, just over half of the eligible population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine compared to other municipalities like High Level where just 9.8 per cent of people have been vaccinated or the County of Forty Mile where the total is just 20.2 per cent.

Taber is another community with low vaccination rates, just 26.2 per cent of the population have received at least one dose.

"I'm going to wait until more people get it. I want to see the effects on them. I'm not jumping to get it, but I will get it if I need it to travel," said one Taber resident.

"I know quite a few people that are hesitant. They don't think the vaccine's been tested enough. They think it's way too early to be given out to people," said another Taber resident.

vaccines, rural, communities, moderna

Pharmacies in the area say supply isn't the issue and that they've noticed demand for vaccines drop off significantly in the past week.

Some have even said they plan on asking the government to reduce the next couple of vaccine doses they receive because they're concerned with storage capacity.

It's a stark contrast to what they were accustomed to seeing in the early days of the vaccine rollout.

"That first week when we received our vaccine shipment, 400 doses, we were able to get rid of all of them with in a week. It was a huge demand, the phones were constantly ringing," said Cam Hazell, the pharmacist at Johnson's Drugs .

But hesitancy isn't the only reason pharmacists are noticing when it comes to the decline in demand in the M.D. of Taber.

"The M.D. of Taber has 20,000 people in it, which is not very many, but only six or 7,000 live in Taber which is the main place where you can get a vaccine," said Hazell. "So two thirds of the population is living [up to] 50 kilometres away from an access point."

Alberta Health Services (AHS) said there are currently four pharmacies in Taber that offering vaccines, and one nearby in Vauxhall.

AHS also said there are plenty of available bookings in Taber at the Taber Health Centre.