Faith, Freedom, Fear: Rural America’s Covid Vaccine Skeptics

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According to state health department statistics, 31 percent of the vaccine-eligible population in Greene County has gotten at least one dose of a Covid vaccine, still below Tennessee overall, which has one of the lowest rates in the country, and far below the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s national tally of 55 percent. While many older residents have been inoculated, now that eligibility is open to all adults, vaccination sites are almost desolate.

Still, conversations here show that for many people, resistance is not firm. Roiled by internet fallacies, many hunger for straightforward information from people they trust. Others have practical needs, like paid time off to recover from side effects, which the Biden administration has urged employers to offer, or the opportunity to get the shot from their own doctor.

What’s also lacking is a groundswell that might encourage the hesitant to make the leap: Many people who have gotten vaccinated are remaining tight-lipped.

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Vaccine Skepticism Was Viewed as a Knowledge Problem. It’s Actually About Gut Beliefs.

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