Vaccine hesitancy is rife in rural North Carolina

Robeson County is stuck at about 25% vaccinated:

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday more than 50% of adults 18 and older in the state have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and more than 43% of the adult population is fully vaccinated against the virus.

In Robeson County, 25.6% of adults are vaccinated, according to Bill Smith, county Health Department director. The county has 101,622 residents who are 18 years old and older. Of that population segment, 26,033 have been vaccinated. For the entire Robeson County population of 130,620 people only 20% have been vaccinated. That takes into account that almost 26,000 Robesonians are too young to get vaccinated.

We're not talking about a slight deviation from the state average, that's half of it. And this attempt to focus on young people doesn't account for that huge gap either:

The department is working to ensure receiving a COVID-19 vaccine is easy and convenient for anyone 16 years old and older. In Robeson County only 99 residents ages 16 and 17 have been vaccinated, according to Smith. That’s 3% of the more than 3,000 residents in that age group.

Smith urges teenagers to get vaccinated even if they are healthy. “The population most at risk are the young people who feel impervious to contracting the virus despite actions that clearly put them in danger,” he said. “Most universities are not going to require vaccination, but that does not mean camps and other events will not make it a requirement."

The percentage of Robeson's population that are 18 and under is 24.7%, slightly higher than the state's average (23%). Especially considering only 16 and older are eligible for the vaccine, that group is not holding the county back, by any stretch of the imagination.

From the NC DHHS COVID Dashboard:

Bladen County: 27.8% (one shot)

Anson County: 27.6%

Swain County: 25.3%

Rutherford County: 24.7%

Gates County: 27.6%

Iredell County: 24.9%

Davidson County: 24.8%

And the list goes on. And the Pandemic goes on.

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