BISMARCK, N.D. – President Joe Biden has set a goal to have 70 percent of American adults vaccinated against COVID-19 by July 4. But, North Dakota Immunization Director Molly Howell says it will be difficult to get 70 percent of North Dakotans vaccinated, and it has nothing to do with vaccine availability.
North Dakota is no longer using its full vaccine allotment from the federal government. Over the past several weeks, about 80,000 of those allotted doses have gone unordered.
“We’ve shown that we can give a high number of doses each week; it’s just we can’t give doses to people who don’t want to receive them,” said Molly Howell, ND Immunization Director.
Howell says vaccine hesitancy is the culprit.
“It seems like it’s just too young of a product to know all of the side effects just for anything that just goes on the market,” said David Villafana of Bismarck.
David Villafana, a 20-year-old Bismarck resident says he doesn’t plan to get vaccinated.
“I’m pretty young and healthy, and I’ve heard I’d be fine if I got COVID,” said Villafana.
Not all Bismarck residents feel the same way.
“I’m doing it not so much for myself, because I know I’m in a less-susceptible age range – I’m really doing it for other people,” said Taylor Roth, a 28-year-old from Bismarck who’s been vaccinated.
Howell says vaccination is important for adults of any age.
“COVID vaccination continues to be effective and safer than getting the COVID disease,” said Howell.
So, DOH is working to meet people where they are through events at college campuses, workplaces, and clinics.
“We’re working to expand convenient clinics, so we’ll be opening up additional pop-up clinics in the coming weeks,” said Howell.