Task force reviews new CDC guidance, incentives to get people vaccinated

·2 min read

May 14—Riley County Commission chairman John Ford is curious whether new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance will encourage people to get vaccinated.

On Thursday, the CDC announced vaccinated people can go indoors in most places without masks.

"I wonder how much that's going to get people off the chairs and into another chair (to get) a shot in their arm," Ford said.

Riley County doesn't have a mask mandate, but Manhattan has one set to expire Sunday.

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly said Thursday the state will follow the guidance immediately, although there is no formal mask mandate in the state right now anyway.

Members of the Manhattan Area Recovery Task Force discussed this new guidance as well as incentives to get people vaccinated during Thursday's virtual meeting.

Riley County public information officer Alice Massimi said the Kansas Department of Health and Environment estimates 45% of people in the county have received at least one vaccine dose. She asked the task force to brainstorm ways to incentivize the public to get vaccinated.

Ford suggested free food. He added he wants the county to work with businesses to provide time for people to get vaccinated as well as time to recover.

"I think a lot of people aren't wanting to do that because some of them can't afford to do that or not incentivized enough to be able to do that," he said.

Lisa Sisley, principal of New Boston Creative Group, said she liked Ford's idea.

"And we did that, time off to recover and to get the shot, and we have 100% compliance in our small business," she said.

Massimi said national research shows that white male Republicans and supporters of former President Donald Trump are least likely to get vaccinated.

"Just trying to figure out ways to reach them," Massimi said.

According to a study by The New York Times, vaccination rates on average in U.S. counties where the majority of people voted to re-elect former President Donald Trump were lower.

Polling by a company called Civiqs found 82% of Democrats, 48% of Republicans and 61% of independents had already gotten vaccinated.

Civiqs polling also shows 40% of Republicans are not planning to get the vaccine, whereas 4% of Democrats and 26% of independents don't plan to get it.

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