The Mountain West is one of the most vaccine-hesitant places in the U.S. — Dan Levin, The New York Times
The Mountain West is one of the most vaccine-hesitant places in the U.S. — Dan Levin, The New York Times
Montana, Idaho, Utah, Nevada and Wyoming Lag in Vaccinations
The Mountain West has emerged as one of the most vaccine-hesitant regions of the United States. Along with the South, it is lagging far behind the national vaccination pace.

In both Idaho and Wyoming, fewer than 40 percent of people have received at least one dose so far, ranking those states among the bottom five in the nation, according to a New York Times database. Montana, Utah and Nevada are doing a bit better, but remain well below the national average of 54 percent. None of the five states is on track to meet President Biden’s goal of at least partly vaccinating 70 percent of adults by July 4, and the White House acknowledged this week that the president doesn’t expect the nation as a whole to meet that target.

Health officials in the region say that their efforts have been hampered by sparse populations in their wide-open areas and by the deep-rooted brand of political conservatism that is common among rural residents. But there is more to the story than that.

As in other parts of the country, the unvaccinated in the Mountain West can be divided largely into two camps, experts say.

“There are those who are kind of the wait-and-see folks, and then we have the absolutely, definitely not,” said Greg Holzman, who was Montana’s state medical officer until April. Rampant misinformation makes it difficult to change minds, he said, and so does the logistical difficulty of providing convenient access in small, widely scattered communities.

There are crosscurrents beneath the statewide trends. For example, Native Americans in Montana, after some initial hesitancy, have embraced the vaccines while white residents in rural areas have been less accepting.
Read the full article: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/26/us/western-us-vaccine-covid.html