WYOMING — Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that Wyoming ranks the lowest in the country for COVID vaccinations as of Aug 23.

According to the CDC, Wyoming had 201,863 unvaccinated adults in the state, which accounts for 45.6% of its population, the highest rate of unvaccinated people in the country.

Michael Pearlman, a spokesperson for Gov. Mark Gordon told the Cowboy State Daily that Wyoming’s low vaccination rate could be due to several factors including its largely rural population and the fact that in small communities people have been less exposed to the health impacts folks have witnessed in the state’s cities. However, Wyomingites’ vaccine hesitancy is nothing new. Outside of the big 7-Vaccine series, residents largely avoid shots compared to other states.

The percentage of adults per state and territory who have not received a dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. Photo: CDC

In 2020, research from WalletHub ranked Wyoming near the bottom in a list of “States that Vaccinate the Most.” The methodology suggested that Wyoming residents follow the norm as far as getting children vaccinated for polio, diphtheria, tetanus, etc; but when it comes to vaccinations later on in life, they are less inclined to keep up.

In the report, Wyoming ranked 47th in vaccination by state and also boasted the lowest influenza vaccination rate in children aged 6 months to 17 years old. They additionally ranked in the bottom three states in the U.S. for share of teenagers with vaccines that protect against HPV and ACWY.

Research material from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests the most common reasons people avoid vaccinations are due to “religious and philosophical beliefs, freedom and individualism, misinformation about risk, and over perception of risk.”

While vaccine rates are low across the state, Teton County boasts the highest vaccination rate of 76% according to metrics from The New York Times. 

However, in the last two weeks, COVID cases have increased significantly in Teton County.

For the last seven days, Teton County averaged 21.86 cases per day. Between Aug. 9, 2021 and Aug. 23, 2021 (14 days) 334 cases were detected. 262 of these cases were from people who live in Teton County. Seventy-two cases were from visitors, workers who live in surrounding communities, and other non-Teton County cases who tested in Teton County. The COVID-19 positive testing rate in the last two weeks was 6.39% and 54.7% of cases in the past two weeks have been due to community spread.

As of Aug. 23, there were 144 known active cases in Teton County. Teton County Health Department recommends mask-wearing in public indoor settings.

Buckrail @ Caroline

Caroline Chapman is a Community News Reporter. She's a lover of alliteration, easy-to-follow recipes and board games when everyone knows the rules. Her favorite aspect about living in the Tetons is the collective admiration that Wyomingites share for the land and the life that it sustains.