Vaccine hesitarian is only part of the problem in North Carolina

President Joe Biden wanted 70% of US adults to be vaccinated at least partially by July 4. A week after that date, the White House admitted. The country is unlikely to meet That goal. Currently about 66% of adults Received at least one dose Of the COVID-19 vaccine.

But North Carolina is even behind. Only 55% of North Carolina residents over the age of 18 received their first shot.North Carolina at current pace Biden’s vaccine target will not be reached until November, News & Observer reported earlier this month.However, due to the increase in delta variants, it is now 20% of new coronavirus cases In the United States — it needs to happen sooner.

Despite the initial surge in vaccine demand, progress has plummeted, Weekly vaccinations in North Carolina decreased by nearly 83% between April 5th and June 14th...

Why did people find it so difficult to get vaccinated?

The answer is complicated. It’s certainly a matter of hesitation, even a serious resistance, but it’s also an access issue. And that’s an even bigger problem in the more rural counties of the state, and its numbers are less promising than in urban areas.

Take Rowan County as an example. According to data from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, less than 40% of adults in the county receive a first dose. Compare that number to Mecklenburg County, where nearly 60% of adults received at least one vaccination, or Wake County, where more than 70% of partially vaccinated adults.

In Rowan County, demand for vaccines began to decline significantly in early May, said county health director Alyssa Harris. But that’s not just because some people are hesitant to get vaccinated. According to Harris, the county is home to a significant number of blue-collar workers, many of whom cannot quit their jobs due to vaccination. Others are worried that if they respond to the vaccine, they may lose their daily salary.

This issue is not unique to Rowan County. In rural Harnett County, only 30% of adults take at least one dose. Debra Hawkins, public health manager at Harnett County Health Department, said in an email that county health officials were vaccinated at churches, farms and other community events as weekly vaccination clinic appointments declined. He said he held the program.

It can be difficult to reach people who have not been vaccinated, but it is becoming more and more important. Delta variants spread rapidly and the rate of infection is caused by variants that double every two weeks. Subspecies are not only more easily transmitted, but also potentially more dangerous.According to experts Variants are especially dangerous Areas where many people do not have the vaccine or are hesitant to get an injection.

As immunization rates continue to decline, North Carolina has introduced various measures to encourage immunization among its population. $ 1 Million Summer Cash Lottery Program Governor Roy Cooper announced earlier this month.But so far, the state No significant increase in new vaccinations has been seen Following the announcement, Cooper said.

These incentives are important, but may not be sufficient for those who do not have easy access to vaccines in the first place.States such as New York and California have passed the bill Require employers to provide paid leave For vaccinated workers. Both states have successfully partially vaccinated at least 70% of adults prior to Biden’s July 4 target. Of course, such legislation may not be politically feasible in states like North Carolina. But, nevertheless, it reminds us that the state has not done enough to remove the major barriers to access.

If people simply don’t want to be vaccinated, there’s not much the state can do to change their minds. However, if anyone is willing to vaccinate more easily, there may be a solution.

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