Residents reluctant to vaccinate

By: 
Alexis Barker

Alexis Barker

NLJ News Editor

 

Nearly a third of Weston County residents are not rushing to get vaccinated against COVID-19. 

According to U.S. Census survey data, an estimated 32% of Weston County residents are hesitant to be vaccinated, while 17% are strongly hesitant. Statewide, about 35% of residents are hesitant, with over 20% saying that they will definitely not receive the vaccine. Nationwide, that number is reported to be roughly 7.6%. 

According to the Wyoming Department of Health, all
23 counties in the state fall into the top 1% of vaccine-hesitant counties. 

The reasons for this reluctance to get vaccinated vary, according to Lori Bickford, Weston County public health nurse. The most common reasons are concerns about side effects, concerns about effectiveness, waiting for more data related to the vaccines, waiting until more people receive the vaccine and overall misinformation about the vaccine, she said. 

“Interest in the vaccine has declined since we began vaccinating, but people keep signing up for the vaccines. I hear many different stories of why people have changed their mind about getting the vaccine,” Bickford said. “Some want to feel safer to travel; others want to be able to attend special events such as weddings and graduations.” 

As people continued to get vaccinated, she said, the hope is that confidence in the vaccine will grow and that people will continue to step up and get vaccinated. 

“Some people will never get the vaccination. The goal of herd immunity is around 70% of the community for a community to be at a safe level of protection,” Bickford said. “We can reach that goal, but it will take time.” 

Currently, according to the state health department, 18.95% of Weston County residents are fully vaccinated. This is the 10th-lowest county vaccination rate in the state, after Campbell, 11.47%; Crook, 13.78%; Lincoln, 15.59%; Converse, 16.51%; Sublette, 17.14%; Uinta, 17.51%; Niobrara, 18.69%; Big Horn, 18.77%; and Laramie, 18.88%. 

Statewide, 42% of the population has been fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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