Trends are rarely without exceptions and today’s news seems to reflect that. We’ve all seen the surveys and read the headlines showing that vaccine hesitancy more common among conservatives and Republicans than Democrats and liberals in general. This no doubt stems from the fact that red-state folks are also less trustful of big government. Polls taken in New York State, where vaccination rates are still not at levels hoped for by public officials, have shown similar data, with upstate Republicans being slower to embrace the vaccination push than their Democratic neighbors in the Big Apple. But way up north in Hamilton County, tucked away in the Adirondack Mountains, there’s a group of residents leading the state in vaccinations. The county now boasts a 65% vaccination rate, nearly double the national average and well ahead of the state as a whole. But why? (NY Post)
An upstate New York county has one of the highest COVID-19 vaccination rates in the country.
Some 65 percent of Hamilton County residents are fully vaccinated against the virus, way better than the 36 percent of people nationwide and 41.6 percent across the Empire State, according to an ABC analysis of figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The rates fly in the face of polls that say Republicans are less willing to get the shot: In 2020, 68 percent of residents in the county voted for Donald Trump over Joe Biden, the report said.
Just by way of full disclosure, I’m personally familiar with Hamilton County. I have family members who live there and we have a camp up in the mountains that we visit every summer.
The first thing to know about Hamilton County is that it’s physically quite large but it has the smallest population of any county in the state. So the math explains a lot of their success. You can vaccinate a smaller number of people faster, so it’s easier for them to take the lead.
It’s also true that the county is far more conservative than the rest of the state. They voted for Trump in 2020 by a wide margin and Republicans maintain a registration advantage there. But we should also remember that these are New York conservatives, which are a different breed than you typically find in deep-red states. Hamilton County is in Elise Stefanik’s district, and if you’ve been following the debate over the recent House GOP leadership shake-up, you’ve probably seen some of the opinions of the relative conservative leanings of the players involved.
Also worth noting is that Hamilton County has an older population on average than most of the rest of the state. There are a lot of retired folks who live up in the mountains there. And we’ve seen figures at the national level showing that not only were older citizens the first to be offered appointments, but they were more willing to go get jabbed than their younger relatives. So due to both of those factors, Hamilton County’s residents were getting vaccinated sooner in most cases and the at-risk patients were likely more enthusiastic about it.
But still, even with all of that said, it’s a pretty impressive accomplishment. Getting 65% to roll up their sleeves this quickly has helped the residents of the area back to something approaching normal far more quickly than the rest of America.
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