The Amish communities of northeastern Ohio engage in textbook communal living. Families eat, work and go to church together, and through the pandemic, mask-wearing and physical distancing have been spotty. That has meant that these communities bore a high rate of infection and death.
Despite this, health officials are struggling to encourage residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Holmes County, where half the population is Amish, has the lowest vaccination rate in Ohio, with just 10% of the population fully vaccinated.
About less than a percent [of Amish] are coming in,” said Holmes County health commissioner Michael Derr.
Marcus Yoder, who was born Amish and is now Mennonite, said the few Amish who are getting the shots are doing so privately through doctors’ offices and small rural clinics — and, they generally are keeping it to themselves.
“There were Amish people getting the vaccination the same day I was … and we all kind of looked at each other and smiled underneath our masks and assumed that we wouldn’t say that we saw them,” Yoder said.
Many Amish do not want to get vaccinated because they’ve already had COVID-19 and believe the area has reached herd immunity, he said.
“I think one of the main driving forces is the misinformation about COVID itself — that it’s not more serious than the flu,” said Yoder, who lives in Holmes County and still has close ties to the religion and community. “They’re saying, ‘Well, it didn’t affect me that much. Look at all these old people who survived.'”
News Source: US News