A CLOSER LOOK: here’s why 1 Arkansan is not getting the COVID-19 vaccine

A Closer Look

BLOOMSBURG, PENNSYLVANIA, UNITED STATES – 2021/05/29: A protester holds a placard demanding “equality for the unvaccinated” during a pro-freedom rally at Bloomsburg’s Market Square.
About 100 self-described patriots marched from Bloomsburg Town Park to Market Square for a pro-freedom rally during the Memorial Day weekend. (Photo by Paul Weaver/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images).

ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — Getting a COVID-19 vaccination for some people is a no-go for a couple of reasons — trust in the product and others who don’t believe in the vaccine.

One Benton County resident is not COVID-19 vaccinated for both of the above reasons. “We’re not anti-vaxxers entirely as a family,” she said and asked that her name not be used due to the negative connotation of not getting vaccinated. “Maybe my doctor is a bit different. He’s a licensed general practitioner but practices as a homeopathic, is not vaccinated, and we talked about making this decision.”

Homeopathy is a medical system based on the belief that the body can cure itself, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

“Getting the vaccination doesn’t mean you’re immunized from the disease (COVID-19),” she said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) definitions:

  • Vaccination is the act of introducing a vaccine into the body to produce immunity to a specific disease.
  • Immunization is a process by which a person becomes protected against a disease through vaccination

She considers the flu and COVID similar in that you can get a shot for it. “The difference is that there’s no criticism attached for not getting a flu shot,” she said.

The former hospital worker said having trust in vaccines takes time and should not be quickly pushed through for any reason.

In her opinion, there is more bad than good with getting a COVID-19 vaccine. “I know several people who have had COVID and survived,” she said. “And everyone I know who has been vaccinated had severe reactions.”

In her large circle of family and friends — all in Arkansas — she knows of three people who are vaccinated and they live in geriatric homes. Her in-laws who live out of state aren’t vaccinated. “My husband and I chose not to get the COVID-19 vaccine and our children aren’t vaccinated either,” she said. “We don’t get the flu or HPV shot, but the kids do have the MMR and polio vaccines.”

The family wears masks if they are in high-traffic areas and don’t wear masks when visiting with extended family. “We have our own cattle and gardens, so we are pretty closed off from the outside world,” she said. “Much of our time is spent outdoors and in the field. I think our lifestyle makes a massive difference in staying healthy.”

Her decision of not getting the COVID vaccine is not politically connected. “To be clear, I don’t belong to any political party. I am in the middle of the road when it comes to politics,” she said. “However, I do believe this entire COVID situation has been pushed politically based on different agendas.”

7/14 STATEWIDE HOSPITALIZATION NUMBERS, PER ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

  • Current COVID-19 hospitalizations: 647
  • Total Beds: 8,828
  • Total Beds Available: 1,921
  • Total ICU Beds: 1,174
  • Total ICU Beds Available: 61
  • Total Vents: 1,066
  • Total Vents Available: 718
  • Total COVID patients in ICU: 245
  • Total COVID patients on vents: 103

As of Wednesday, July 14, more than 1 million Arkansans, 12 and older, were fully immunized, about 40% of the population; 235,914 were partially immunized, 12 and older, that’s 9.23%; nationally, 56.4% of the U.S. population, 12 and older, are fully immunized, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Only the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is offered for those who are 12 and older. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for people 18 and older.

VACCINATION REQUIREMENTS IN ARKANSAS FOR CHILDREN

The Arkansas Board of Health requires all children, attending childcare facilities and public or private schools, including college and university students, to be immunized against measles, mumps, and rubella.

All states have laws regarding vaccines for students, however, exemptions vary state-to-state. Forty-five states and Washington D.C. have religious exemptions, and 15 states have philosophical exemptions. Currently, no states have a COVID-19 vaccine requirement to enter school.

Arkansas is part of the group of 15 — personal belief exemption. The other states are:

  • Oregon
  • Idaho
  • Utah
  • Colorado
  • Arizona
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Texas
  • Louisiana
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Michigan
  • Wisconsin
  • Minnesota

In 2019, Arkansas passed House Bill 1786  that requires a public or private school to create and maintain a report that provides certain information regarding the number and percentage of students who have an exemption from the requirement to obtain vaccinations.

According to the ADH, in the 2020-21 school year, 8,053 students received exemptions for non-medical reasons — 3,188 for religious beliefs and 4,865 for philosophical reasons. The Arkansas Department of Education data center reports the state’s K-12 public school enrollment is 473,000.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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