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Rural health leaders are growing more frustrated with people saying no to the vaccine

Only about 10% of people 18 and older in Jones County have been fully-vaccinated, well below the state rate of about 20%.
Published: Mar. 25, 2021 at 7:24 PM EDT
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JONES COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - Rural counties could be a barrier to herd immunity.

Health leaders are growing more concerned as the gaps between the state’s rate and those in small, rural counties grow.

Only about 10% of people 18 and older in Jones County have been fully-vaccinated. That’s well below the state’s rate of about 20%.

It’s baffling health leaders who, even as the county opened up their vaccination events to the general public last week, have had a hard time filling appointments.

“We actually had some success with our first few outreach events, the last outreach event that we did, though, we didn’t sign up a single person,” said Jones County Nursing Supervisor Ann Pike, who just completed her tenure as the county’s interim health director. “So, I don’t know if it was the time of day that we did it, if it was the area that we were in. Some of the people that we signed up at our outreach events, did not come for their vaccines.”

And some, she added, would show up on the day of the event, and then change their minds.

It could become a significant barrier to reaching herd immunity of at least 70% to begin loosening major COVID restrictions safely, according to health experts.

But Pike said the only real solution to convincing the practically-inconvincible is time, to see the vaccine work with their own eyes.

“To see that everybody is doing well with their vaccines,” said Pike. That they’re not having substantial side effects from them. Some people you’re not going to convince indifferently.”

Studies on every vaccine in circulation have shown they are all at least 70% effective at slowing the spread of the virus. The two-shot Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are each at least 90% effective. All three, including the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, are 100% effective at stopping deadly cases of the disease.

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