AS I SEE IT
By Neal A. Shipman
How many people in McKenzie County are anxiously waiting for the arrival of summer and being able to enjoy all of the things that were cancelled last year? My guess is that everyone is tired of all of the COVID-19 restrictions that we have had to live with for the past year. And they long for the return of the McKenzie County Fair, attending Homefest or Ribfest, the Arnegard 4th of July or Alexander’s Old Settlers’ Day.
But what happens if there is another outbreak of the coronavirus in McKenzie County that forces the organizers of those events to once again put things on hold? Some people would say that it is highly improbable that any of the summer events that are now back on the calendar would be cancelled considering that the vaccine is now so readily available.
But considering the extremely low number of McKenzie County residents who are vaccinated and seem to be interested in receiving a shot, if another wave of the virus hits North Dakota, the reality is this county’s residents are going to be the least protected.
As of Wednesday, March 31, only 14 percent of McKenzie County residents have received at least one dose of the vaccination, which earns the county the dubious distinction of having the second lowest vaccination rate of the state’s 52 counties. The only county with a lower vaccination rate is Williams County, which according to the North Dakota Department of Health COVID dashboard, had a 13.4 percent vaccination rate.
That low vaccination rate doesn’t bode well for McKenzie County when you realize that 19 of North Dakota’s counties were reporting a vaccination rate above 30 percent with Rolette County leading the state with 48 percent.
Rolette County, which has an estimated population of 14,511, has administered 11,151 doses of the vaccine. That compares to the 2,744 doses administered in McKenzie County, which has an estimated population of 13,411.
With every healthcare facility and/or clinic in the county now making the vaccine available to every county resident over the age of 18, the question that every county resident needs to ask themselves is why aren’t they getting vaccinated?
If we want to reach herd immunity in McKenzie County and the rest of North Dakota it is essential that everyone gets vaccinated.
So please call and get an appointment to be vaccinated. If not for yourself, but for everyone else.