Jalissa Fletcher, vice president of the Cheyenne Chapter of the NAACP, has another word for it: privilege. “When you have an entire system you have an entire country that has bent to your will and the rules have never really been applied to you before” and now the rules are “enforced” it becomes “like a symbol of” oppression, ”she said.
Ms. Fletcher moved from Georgia to Wyoming in 2018. She was initially reluctant to get the vaccine; government pressure on people of color to get it made her suspicious, she said. But she overcame her reluctance to be able to travel abroad for her wedding. Wyoming residents who consider themselves very patriotic, she said, are “unwilling to do their civic duty, essentially, to keep people safe here in the United States.”
As of June 28, only about 40 percent of Wyoming adults were fully vaccinated, excluding those vaccinated by military facilities, according to the state health department’s website. Recently, over seven days, the state recorded about 89 cases per 100,000 population, among the highest rates in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The number of cases in Wyoming has remained stable for more than three months, but hospitalizations have increased in recent weeks, Ms. Deti noted in an email in June.
“We continue to vaccinate more people every day, but of course we want the percentage of the population to be higher,” she wrote. The department is running a statewide campaign to encourage vaccinations.
When I have argued with people who are resistant to vaccines close to me, I have used strategies – citing data from the CDC, for example – that seem doomed to fail in Wyoming. Surgo Ventures, a nonprofit healthcare organization, found the state to have one of the highest percentages of adult “Covid skeptics” in the country.