Health Commissioner Mark Levine says that Vermonters who have not taken their COVID-19 vaccines are largely still planning to. However, a new ABC News/Washington Post poll of unvaccinated Americans shows nearly three-quarters of them do not expect to get the shots.
“All of us have a part to play in reaching those who have yet to be vaccinated,” Levine said at a press conference Tuesday. “ … If you are a parent or a grandparent of someone who is not vaccinated … have a conversation with them. But don’t take your role as having to convince them — your role is to find out what is the reason that they remain unvaccinated and listen in an empathetic and non-judgmental way.”
Levine continued that the friend or family should try to find out what sources of information unvaccinated Vermonters are reading or listening to.
“See if they are relying on reliable sources of information. You can ask open-ended questions, and ask whether you can share what you consider to be more reliable sources of information with them. Or see if they’ve talked to a health care provider about concerns they’ve had,” he said.
Levine said less than 5 percent of Vermonters are true skeptics about the COVID shots. That’s contrary to a new national poll that suggests most of the remaining unvaccinated Americans will likely remain so. Of the nearly 50 percent of Americans who have chosen to not get a COVID-19 shot, nearly three-quarters of them believe the shot is unnecessary given the risks.
“As health authorities sound the alarm on the dangers of the fast-spreading Delta COVID-19 variant, up to 73 percent of unvaccinated Americans said they believe the risk is being exaggerated, according to a new poll,” Newsweek’s Natalie Colarossi wrote.
Furthermore, 79 percent believe that the coronavirus overall poses little or no risk to their health.
Levine also cited the newly reported “Delta” variant of COVID-19 as the new culprit to monitor.
“And the majority of future cases in Vermont will be in groups of unvaccinated people,” Levine said. “So who are these Vermonters? We suspect from survey data, well under 5 percent of adults are truly vaccine resisters or vaccine skeptics.”
Levine suggested that most of them are still in the “wait and see” or “concerned to miss work” categories.
Department of Financial Regulation Commissioner Michael Pieciak, also speaking at the press conference, indicated that reported cases of the virus will go down for the rest of the summer.
“Taking a look at the most recent case forecast, we see that Vermont continues to follow the expected trend, and we continue to anticipate very low case counts into the month of August,” he said.
Megan Redshaw, writing for The Defender, summarized some of the latest data out of the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System regarding reactions to the COVID-19 vaccines.
“VAERS data released today by the CDC showed a total of 358,379 reports of adverse events from all age groups following COVID vaccines, including 5,993 deaths and 29,871 serious injuries between Dec. 14, 2020 and June 11, 2021,” she wrote.