This past April has seen the fewest recorded number of COVID-19 cases in Dutchess County since last November, with an average of 83.8 cases per day. As of this past week, there were no COVID-19 related deaths in the county for the first time since last October. Despite 35.7 percent of the county’s residents receiving both doses of the vaccine, hesitancy regarding the coronavirus vaccine remains among some residents in Dutchess County. The question remains as to how the county will encourage more residents to receive the vaccine and contribute to herd immunity in the United States, which will be reached when 70-85 percent of the nation’s population is immune from the virus.
According to Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), New York as a whole “has seen an 18 percent drop in administered doses over the past couple of weeks, going from 1.2 million vaccine doses administered last week to 1.5 million the previous week.”
The county will rely primarily on word of mouth to encourage more residents to get vaccinated. It is the hope of Dutchess County legislators that as people share their own experiences and reasons for getting vaccinated, that more people will follow. In addition, there will be expanded hours for the county’s walk-in clinics, and major employers will be able to have on-site vaccination sites at their workplace. The county is looking into on-site education for workers as well.
Professor of History and Dutchess County legislature member Rebecca Edwards voiced concerns about resources available to Dutchess County residents: “I do have a concern that people who call the county number, seeking help making an appointment (if they are homebound or need transit help) are waiting as long as two months to get a callback to help them arrange vaccination. We should be helping people more quickly.”
Despite this, Edwards notes that vaccinations will allow more freedom to spend time with family and friends, travel, as well as to enjoy other hobbies safely.