Almost fifty percent of the population in the Holmes region of Ohio belongs to the Amish community. This county has the lowest rates of vaccination in the U.S. People of Amish communities believe and lead a life of communal living. This means that groups of people share the same space and live together and also perform almost all daily life activities like going to church, eating, working, etc., together. Therefore, throughout the pandemic, it’s been a very patchy situation when it comes to maintaining guidelines of social distancing and mask mandates. Hence the death rates and infections in this community have been excessively high.
Low Rates Of Vaccination In The Amish Population Of Ohio…But Why?
Even after so high rates of infections and deaths, it has been very difficult for the health experts to create awareness in the community and inspire them to get vaccinated. Data shows that only 10% of the Amish populations in Ohio have got vaccinated so far.
The health commissioner of the Holmes region reported that lower than one percent are volunteers to get vaccinated. Very few people who are getting them vaccinated are doing it very secretly and from private offices of doctors or small countryside clinics. These people are not revealing the fact that they got the vaccinations in their community. This information was shared by Marcus Yoder, who was born as an Amish but is now a Mennonite. He also mentioned that many people think since most of them already had suffered from Covid, therefore they are immune and do not need the vaccine any longer.
The reason for the Amish people’s lack of awareness regarding vaccination is the misconception that they have about Covid, as told by Yoder. He said that the people think Covid is just mere flu, and it did not have much impact on most of them, including so many old folks who also recovered. Yoder also mentioned the intrigues going on against the vaccination inside the whole community, and it is dangerous that they lack awareness about the most infectious virus scattering throughout the country.
Yoder expressed his fear of having more infections in their community and also that there is already much news of cases with fatigue, but none of them are ready to listen.
Although they have been explaining about their natural immunity after surviving from Covid, yet the health department commissioner Derr has shared his concern that the Covid survivors of the past might not be protected. He mentioned the surge in cases during the winter and also that he is predicting another surge soon for not getting vaccinated enough.
Amidst all these, non-stop awareness programs are held, and health officials are trying their best from Indiana and Pennsylvania to reach out to the Amish people. The bishops are also spoken to by local health agencies for spreading the word about the importance of vaccinations.
Rachel Stein, a sociologist at the University of West Virginia, was not surprised to learn about the reluctance in the Amish population to take the shots. She said that non-Amish people are more inclined towards precautionary treatments. Still, the mindset of the Amish people is not so, and they are not cooperative in helping society to bring an end to the pandemic. Stein also said that they had accepted the fact that people will get sick and then will recover or maybe not. She added that vaccinations in Amish children have still become more in number than the adults.
She remarked about some people who react in strange ways. If there is whooping cough in someone, they just ignore it, saying that this is the season of whooping cough. Stein emphasized that action must be taken to deal with this kind of attitude to prevent the further spread of the infection.