Commissioners Blame Politics For COVID Vaccine Apathy
Scioto County Commissioner Bryan Davis says he thinks apathy, politics, and distrust of the government are behind the comparatively low COVID-19 vaccination rate in Scioto County.
Scioto County lags behind the rest of the state when it comes to COVID-19 vaccination rates. Ohio’s overall average is at 43% (though the introduction of the Vax-a-million lottery caused a 6% jump in the past few days.) Scioto County’s rate is hovering around 30%.
At Thursday’s Scioto County Commissioners meeting, Davis said, “There’s some apathy out there. I think they’re seeing the numbers decline, so they don’t see the fear. They don’t see the reason to do it.”
He also thinks some residents distrust the vaccine and don’t feel safe taking it despite assurances from doctors and the FDA that it is safe and effective. “There’s also a portion of people out there that don’t want to be told what to do. And there’s some people who simply don’t trust the government on this.”
The commissioner said that it was unfortunate that the COVID-19 situation became politically charged from the start of the pandemic. “It was really terrible.”
Commissioner Bryan Davis said all three commissioners were vaccinated. “We all have our different reasons for doing so.” The commissioner said they’d all had shots from different pharmaceutical companies purely by chance.” He stressed that vaccines are nothing new. “We have done vaccines for years and years and years. You need to do the research yourself.” The commissioner said his motivation was to protect his family.
Speaking about the vaccination numbers, Davis said. “It seems we have stagnated. I’ve been noticing that in the numbers lately.” Despite the Vax-A-Million lottery boosting rates statewide, Davis said he wasn’t sure it would do much to help locally.
Commissioner Coleman reminded people that the deadline for the first Vax-a-millions drawing was soon and that the scholarship portion of the lottery was a great opportunity for kids.
Protecting the Elderly
Davis reminded citizens that the vaccine is free and readily available. “If they want it, all they have to do is call their local health department. Watch Facebook, there’s messages all the time telling people where the clinics are.”
He said vaccinating the elderly population has slowed the spread of COVID-19. “Our nursing homes and assisted living facilities have done an amazing job. They’re some of the heroes of this entire pandemic.”
While Davis stressed he was not one to tell people what to do and that they should do their own vaccine research, he also said that the virus is no joke. “People need to realize that the Coronavirus is real. It’s not fake. It’s not made-up news. The problem is that it was politicized early on and it caused a lot of mistrust. I don’t know how you roll that back. I really don’t. I don’t know how you get people to trust that after all that’s been said.”
Crabtree Still on Their Minds
Davis said that his own battle with COVID and the loss of multiple friends, including County Commissioner Mike Crabtree influenced his opinion on the vaccine. “I would personally recommend people do it as a precaution.”
Commissioner Scottie Powell said it’s not lost on him that the reason he’s a commissioner is that Mike Crabtree died from COVID. “To pretend that it’s not something that’s real or not something that’s deadly is absurd. He said his experience working in nursing homes showed him how deadly COVID-19 is. “We saw our communities just ravaged in very quick order. I’m not typically someone who gets a flu shot or anything like that. I did my research. I did my due diligence. Quite honestly, based on what I do, something had to be done so we could open up for our residents to see their loved ones to not potentially die alone. I would encourage people to get it, but once again, do your research.
Like Davis, Powell blamed the media for politicizing the virus from the get-go.
Powell said the while the virus rates are slowing and Ohio is gradually opening, people should be mindful of the safety of the elderly and at-risk population. He also encouraged people to respect the decisions of others when it comes to mask-wearing and vaccination. “We’ve gotten too comfortable beating each other up over what we feel is right or wrong in the moment.”