Wyoming 5th Lowest In The Country For Flu Vax Rates

Wyoming has the fifth-lowest percentage of residents vaccinated for influenza at 43%. Idaho is the least-vaccinated state for influenza at 38.2% while Massachusetts and Rhode Island are the most vaccinated states in the country for the flu.

Clair McFarland

May 17, 20244 min read

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Wyoming has the fifth-lowest percentage of residents vaccinated for influenza at 43%, according to recent data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Wyoming Department of Health wishes that figure was higher, though it’s typical for Wyoming to be among the lowest states for flu vaccination, the department’s spokeswoman said Thursday in response to a Cowboy State Daily inquiry.

“Unfortunately, Wyoming typically does not have high rates for influenza vaccines,” Kim Deti, Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) spokeswoman told Cowboy State Daily in a Thursday email. “Our rates for most other vaccinations such as for polio and the measles are much higher.”

Deti said vaccines help prevent many serious illnesses, and WDH will keep encouraging Wyoming residents to follow its vaccine recommendations. She said influenza vaccines have increased in availability in recent years.

Deti noted that the data is based on two nationally conducted surveys, and said the state’s low population and a possible low number of participants could have affected the data.

‘Nope, Never’

Wyoming anti-vaccine-mandate lawmaker Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, told Cowboy State Daily he’s not surprised Wyoming’s flu vaccination rates are so low. He said it amounts to Wyomingites’ mistrust toward the shots.

He also pointed to Wyomingites’ growing suspicion in the wake of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, an oft-politicized event accompanied by federal and tribal government vaccine mandates and ultimatums.  

Wyoming’s flu vaccine uptake exceeded half the population (51.45%) just as COVID-19 was starting, in the 2019-2020 flu season.

But amid the 2021 COVID-19 vaccine rollout, the state’s figures dipped back down to 43.9%, then plunged to 40% in the 2021-2022 flu season.

Bouchard said he has never taken the flu vaccine: “Nope, never.”

He also pointed to the shots’ occasional side effects.

For Example...

Wyoming people reported 13 medical incidents stemming from seasonal flu vaccines administered in the state in 2023 and 2024, to the CDC’s voluntary reporting database the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.

For example:

One patient had a sore arm months after vaccination, at the injection site, according to VAERS data. A mother reportedly submitted data about her child’s full body shaking and leg twitch for four days following the child’s Feb. 19, 2024 flu vaccination. The child was seen in the emergency room on Feb. 26, the database says.

Another mother reported a child’s arm was swollen and too painful to move, but five-to-six days later, the arm was back to normal.

One patient was diagnosed with palsy after vaccination in December, 2023.

Another simply “called to report that he tested positive for flu” on Nov. 1, 2023.

One patient whose arm became infected after vaccination was adamant that her medical provider understand the vaccine was the culprit.

“I informed her that this is a risk of a vaccination because bacteria can get under the skin whenever we break it,” the medical staffer wrote in the VAERS report. “I told patient I would report this event and she agreed that was alright.”

One patient who had been on birth control, stomach acid and allergy medications when vaccinated became “unable to form (a) sentence” and developed slurred speech and nausea, reportedly. The report doesn’t say how or if those symptoms resolved.

None of these events is listed as resulting in death, serious bodily injury or permanent disability.

Idaho Lowest

Wyoming’s flu vaccination rates among adults in the 2022-23 season were even lower than its all-age average, at 38.2%.

Idaho is the only state lower for adult flu vaccinations, at 34%. Idaho also had the lowest rate for kids’ flu vaccinations at 39.95%.

Next came Mississippi, in which kids received flu vaccinations at a 40.5% rate; then Nevada (41.6% kids’ flu vaccination rate) and Oklahoma (42.75%).

Wyoming was the fifth-lowest in the kids’ category, at 42.95%.

Massachusetts Highest

Massachusetts had the highest all-age vaccination rate at 68.85% - with 62.4% of adults vaccinated for flu and 75.3% of kids.

Next came Rhode Island, as 68.35% (60.7% for kids and 76% for adults) and Washington, D.C., at 68.3% (59.9% for adults and 76.7% for kids).

Same For COVID Shots

Wyoming shows even more hesitancy toward COVID-19 vaccines, ranking lowest in percentage of people who have had at least one COVID-19 vaccination dose, according to a USAFacts.org vaccination tracker.

That figure is 59.8%, for Wyoming, as of April 26, 2024, the tracker says, adding that 81% of the U.S. population has received at least one dose.

Vermont, D.C., Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut all have greater than a 95% partial-complete-or-boosted vaccination rate, the tracker reports.  

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter