North Country’s reluctance to COVID-19 vaccine not political issue, experts say


WATER TOWN, NY (WWTI) – As COVID-19 vaccination rates begin to stagnate in the north of the country, many are discussing the idea of ​​hesitation about vaccination. Recent data released by the Center for Community Studies at Jefferson Community College in partnership with Syracuse University indicated that nearly a quarter of adults in North Country are reluctant to receive the vaccine.

While not the majority, Jefferson Community College Center for Community Studies research director Joel LaLone said that percentage plays a role in how the North Country will progress.

“What remains 23 to 24%, that if we want to achieve collective immunity, then there must be decisions made among those 24% to get vaccinated.”

After interviewing more than 800 adults in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties, the study conducted by LaLone and Syracuse University epidemiologist David Larsen, showed reluctance to vaccinate in the North Country is not a political issue.

Factors such as security fears and lack of confidence in the government play a much larger role in such reluctance.

“The important thing is that this is not a partisan issue. It is not a political question to vaccinate. We have to make sure that we don’t present it as such, ”Larsen said. “These are the people who care about necessity, safety and efficiency, and that’s what we need to tackle. It is not a question of making it a political fight.

But what caused this hesitation? LaLone claimed this was due to mistrust of senior government and public health figures.

“What motivates these fears of security and these fears of efficiency in the country of the North is the mistrust of the government in general and the mistrust, at times, of agencies and formal groups, at least in the opinion. residents of the North, who tell them what to do. . “

How to fight this hesitation? LaLone and Larsen both focused on educational methods, instead of incentives or restrictions, at the local level to regain public trust.

“We hope that this data will be one of the many data points currently available for citizens to recognize that the supported vaccine is safe, effective, necessary, and it really is the social norm,” said LaLone.

Larsen added: “The vaccine is more effective than anyone imagined; it’s effective beyond our wildest dreams and it’s the fastest way to get our lives back.

Additional questions posed in the study and its conclusions are included below.

Statements “Agree” “To disagree”
Getting the COVID vaccine is riskier for my health than actually getting COVID 17% 71%
COVID-19 is worse than the flu 67% 22%
I’m not comfortable eating at local restaurants right now 28% 66%
Elementary school children should be in school five days a week in my community right now 63% 24%
Kindergarten and elementary school children should have remained open throughout the pandemic 29% 61%
Face masks or blankets should be mandatory for all people everywhere in indoor public spaces, excluding infants and people who are unable to wear masks 56% 36%
COVID vaccine was approved so quickly I don’t trust its safety 32% 55%
Kindergartens and elementary schools should never have closed 35% 54%
The effectiveness and importance of social distancing of at least 6 feet has been overstated and too much importance has been drawn from it. 40% 53%
I plan to continue wearing a mask in public after normal business, school and social activities in our completely open community 53% 38%

As previously reported, Dr David Larsen explained how, along with vaccines, COVID-19 wastewater testing will be a proactive way to prevent the spread of the virus in the north of the country this summer. The full interview can be viewed in the player below.

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