Interest in COVID vaccines declining in one of Ohio’s least vaccinated counties

Interest in COVID vaccines declining in one of Ohio’s least vaccinated counties
Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 5:15 PM EST
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ADAMS COUNTY, Ohio (WXIX) - Interest in the COVID-19 vaccination appears to be dropping in Adams County. As one health official explains, that could be due to the fabric that makes up the county residents.

“The past month, vaccination rates have dropped,” says Doctor William Hablitzel. “There was a big interest when Omicron was in the news, now that it’s been so widespread, the interest is waning.”

Just last March, residents lined up to get the shots during a drive-thru vaccination drive.

According to the CDC, vaccination rates in Ohio are relatively low, with Adams County having one of the lowest rates in the state.

“Before COVID-19 can become endemic, we need to see substantial reductions in our hospitalizations and case numbers coupled with more people vaccinated,” says Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff.

As Dr. Hablitzel explains, the Adams County hospital has been filled the past month.

He says COVID-19 patients are staying in the emergency rooms.

“We had emergency room nurses providing critical care managing, sometimes even on a ventilator,” Dr. Hablitzel says.

The homes are spread out in much of Adams County, and the prominent political climate is conservative.

“And that community often have different beliefs on vaccinations, and it’s all part of who we are,” the doctor explains.

Dr. Hablitzel says vaccine supplies are not the problem, but rather people need to make the decision to get vaccinated.

“I think people have come to, yeah if there was a line out the door, I think it would tell us there is still a lot of people deciding to get vaccinated,” says Dr. Hablitzel. “We’re still seeing maybe 20 people a day, not like a hundred people a day months ago.”

For some perspective on how resistant Adams County residents are, the doctor provided information from a recent survey.

Dr. Hablizel says the survey asked for what are the top 10 health issues in the county.

Substance abuse and mental health were one and two, respectively.

Dr. Hablizel says COVID-19 was near the bottom of that list.

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