By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A new report from a national think tank showed Wyoming has one of the highest proportions of COVID “skeptics” in the country.
Health care think tank Surgo Foundation conducted a Facebook survey in March to determine how enthusiastic people were about getting one of the available COVID vaccines and if they were hesitant to get one, why.
The foundation report broke the survey respondents into five categories: enthusiasts, watchful, cost-anxious, system distrusters and COVID skeptics. It also accounted for how many people who were already vaccinated.
Wyoming ranked high in three of the five categories: watchful, cost-anxious and COVID skeptics, with around 25% of the state being considered skeptical of the virus and the vaccine.
In terms of skepticism, Wyoming ranked third in the nation, behind Arkansas (which came in at 30%) and South Dakota (29%), respectively.
The report said many among the Wyoming residents identified as skeptics, many believed in at least one of three conspiracy theories about the virus or vaccines: that the vaccine contains a microchip, that the government is exploiting the virus to control people or that the virus was created by humans to manipulate world events.
People who identified as Republicans or independent politically were more likely to believe in a conspiracy theory about the virus or vaccine.
The report said 13.4% of Wyomingites responding to the survey were considered “watchful,” or more likely to take the vaccine if people they knew reported a positive vaccine experience. Another 14.4% were classified as “cost-anxious,” although the vaccine is, and always has been, free to obtain.
By the time the survey was conducted in late March, vaccines were widely available, although not throughout the state.
Vermont, North Carolina and Georgia came in as the most enthusiastic states when it came to getting a COVID vaccine.