JACKSON, Wyo. — During yesterday’s Board of County Commissioners meeting Teton County Health Department Director of Health, Jodie Pond, presented the board with an update in terms of COVID-19 cases and vaccinations administered in the County. Pond discussed the ongoing campaign to incentivize people to get vaccinated.
According to the update, as of April 23, 50% of the Teton County population is fully vaccinated. 61% of people ages 18+ and 77% of people 65+ are fully vaccinated.
Pond discussed “vaccine hesitancy” and how vaccine supply is beginning to outpace demand. She said, “When we say hesitancy that does not mean people are absolutely not going to get it, they just may have questions and so those are the folks we really need to do outreach.”
Last week, the Health Department administered a total of 2,298 doses, 210 of those being first doses.
She said, “this is where the work begins, getting this first 50% has been the “easy part” now comes the hard part, doing the outreach and making sure people understand all of the different aspects of getting vaccinated.”
A total of 13,31o second doses have been given out in Teton County thus far, as of April 26. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine will begin to be given out again after the brief pause.
The Health Department is also rolling out a first dose mobile clinic this week for Grand Teton National Park employees and their concession employees, and will also be able to administer vaccinations to visitors this summer. Individuals who received a first dose vaccine outside of the county can receive their second dose at one of the clinics as well.
Pond also discussed concerns surrounding the vaccines defense against COVID-19 variants. “It’s so important to get vaccinated so we can keep our numbers down so that we don’t start to see additional variants which means our vaccines might not be as effective in the future,” said Pond. She also said, “Covid will become endemic meaning that it’s going to be here, we are not going to eradicate it like we did polio, and so we are going to have to respond appropriately.”
“This next 50% is going to be hard, we don’t need to get to a 100% but we need to get to 70 or 80%,” said Pond.
Commissioner Mark Barron asked if political party affiliations have a correlation to vaccination hesitancy. Pond responded saying, “There is some data nationally, that shows party affiliation, one more likely than the other is getting vaccinated.” She said that she would like to reach out to area leaders that would be interested in working with the health department to encourage people to get vaccinated.
The Health Department received two grants from the Wyoming Department of Health for contact tracing funding and for a vaccine campaign. According to Pond, the contact tracing funding ran out but they received an amendment of $500,000 of funding through the end of December 2021. The Health Department is also seeking an amendment to fund the vaccine campaign.
“People that are fully vaccinated can start to live their lives as if it was pre-pandemic so thats what we would like to see,” said Pond.
About The Author
Buckrail @ Lindsay
Lindsay Vallen is a Community News Reporter covering a little bit of everything; with an interest in politics, wildlife, and amplifying community voices. Originally from the east coast, Lindsay has called Wilson, Wyoming home since 2017. In her free time, she enjoys snowboarding, hiking, cooking, and completing the Jackson Hole Daily crosswords.
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