Wyoming Most Vaccine-Hesitant State? Park County Suggests Yes | Big Horn Radio Network | Wyoming

Wyoming Most Vaccine-Hesitant State? Park County Suggests Yes

Written by on April 22, 2021

With ABC News showing Wyoming residents are more hesitant to get a COVID-19 vaccine, the reduced numbers in Park County might back that statistic up.

Park County might serve as a microcosm of a growing hesitation for Wyoming adults to get the COVID-19 vaccination. Now, national surveys are showing our state leads the way in its reluctance to get its shots.

ABC News reports a national survey shows Wyomingites are more hesitant than any other state.

“Wyoming has emerged as the most vaccine-hesitant state in the country — an estimated 33% of adults said they were are reluctant to get a COVID-19 vaccine, compared with an estimated 16% of nationwide.”

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show 42% of Wyoming adults have received at least one dose of a vaccine. The national average is 51% of adults.

Kim Deti, with the Wyoming Department of Health, is quoted in the article, saying, “Wyoming has had low levels of COVID-19 illnesses and hospitalizations for a while now, which affects threat perception.”

The article goes on to discuss the possible reasons why Wyoming adults are choosing to avoid vaccination. According to the survey data, the top three reasons cited for vaccine hesitancy in Wyoming were:

  • “Concerned about side effects.
  • “I don’t believe I need it.”
  • Don’t trust COVID-19 vaccines.”

Wyoming’s rural self-sufficiency and “rugged individualism” are also cited as possible reasons for vaccine hesitancy. Linda Thunstrom, an associate professor of economics at the University of Wyoming, also cited “low trust in government agencies and also in the companies that develop the vaccines.”

If Park County’s current vaccination trends are examined, they could be confirming concerns that reluctance is directly impacting vaccination.

As of this week, over 15,000 people in Park County are fully or partially vaccinated against COVID-19. But this success could be undercut by reduced numbers of people signing up for Park County Public Health clinics.

A clinic on Saturday, April 17, at the Cody Auditorium has 600 doses of vaccine available. Only 185 people signed up and, on the day of the clinic, only 157 doses were distributed.

In response to dropping demand, Park County Public Health clinics will now feature reduced hours. Soon, vaccination may only be offered once a week at Public Health’s offices.

On the other hand, vaccine hesitation isn’t a new phenomenon to some county healthcare professionals – they’ve been expecting it.

Bill Crampton, Park County Public Health Nurse, estimated that at least one-third of county residents would choose not to vaccinate in mid-March. He considers two-thirds of county residents vaccinated a definite victory.

The primary concern seems to be Summer 2021. As visitors and residents prepare for summer tourism, there are chances that cases and hospitalizations could spike once again.

ABC News’s article offers theories but no solutions. Ultimately, the decision to vaccinate lies with the people of Wyoming  – and the decisions they’ll be making in the months to come.

For more information on Wyoming’s vaccination hesitation, read the full ABC News report.

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