Reluctance to get vaccinated is rampant among white Republican communities. But it is not as simple as a bipartisan difference.
Rural America’s Vaccine Hesitancy-An Entangled Web
This is what someone feels about an informal chat after a worship service in a church.
Someone greets the pastor and puts up the question; “did you receive the vaccine?” The other person glances at the unmasked, not vaccinated group ready to judge her. She decides to evade the question.
They were there to better know each other. But the first question was about vaccines. The subject is now a matter of great discomfort among Americans. People feel that it is not a business of the outsiders.
The question about vaccination is separating friends, tearing up families and causing havoc in the entire system. For most of the people, vaccine is something more than the health.
White Republican communities, largely Christian, are the most reluctant to receive vaccination. However, the country has to persuade them if it has to attain herd immunity. Here, the hesitancy is more entangled than any survey has revealed.
Health experts succeeded in persuading urban Latino American communities to set aside their beliefs and get vaccinated.
In Green County, vaccine hesitancy is not just a question of faith or politics. According to them, manufacturers developed the vaccines in haste. And they are not aware of their long-term complications. Beliefs about autonomy of the body, authority and science too play a vital role in people’s reluctance here. They don’t want outsiders to intervene in their affairs.
As per the statistics of State Health Department, 31% of the vaccine-eligible people have received at least one dose of the vaccines. This is below the rate of even Tennessee, one among the lowest in the US. And it is much below the national rate, 55%. Most of the older adults have received the jab. The State now has expanded vaccine eligibility to all American adults. And the vaccination sites are almost empty.
A conversation to the people here will tell you one thing. Resistance here is not that strong. The vast information available online confuses them. A majority of them want to know the real truth. Some are concerned of practical requirements. They want paid leave to recover from the side effects of the jab. President Biden has taken this account. He urges employers to seriously consider this request.
There is another thing that lends support to vaccine nay-sayers. The people who are vaccinated choose to keep quiet about it.
Green County abounds in Evangelist churches. People here live on substance farming, jobs in small-scale factories, paychecks from retirees and welfare schemes. COVID 19 hit the area a bit hard this time. 11 people died here. Still, people are reluctant to receive the shot.
The government still wants everyone to wear mask indoors. What, then, is the point in all this? According to some, vaccines in general contain fetal remains. The notion, however, is wrong. They don’t trust the government anymore. It has long been manipulating the numbers of coronavirus infections.
Residents here don’t trust politicians that much. But they trust a particular proprietor of the Mustard Seed. He is the one who advises people on how to treat the symptoms of COVID 19. Some even phone him before consulting their doctors. Some contact him when their prescription medicines fail.
People here refuse vaccination even when their loved ones die of COVID 19. They are of the view that they can take care of themselves.
There are also those who scoff at those who blame political affiliations for vaccine hesitancy. It is rooted in their traditions, they say. For others, the country jumped into the vaccine before the time.