Bible Belt vaccination rate increasing after Covid outbreaks
Relatively many residents of the Bible Belt got vaccinated against the coronavirus in recent weeks. The turnout for vaccinations is rising faster in some parts of that area than in the rest of the country, according to weekly figures from the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). In the Bible Belt, where many Reformed Christians live, many people have been infected with the coronavirus in the past month.
Staphorst in Overijssel is such a municipality. For a while, it was the biggest coronavirus hotspot in the country. Staphorst still has the second-lowest vaccination rate in the Netherlands, after Urk, but that is changing. Early October, 53 percent of all residents aged 12 and older had received at least one shot. That has now increased to 57 percent. In the neighboring municipality of Zwartewaterland, 75 percent of the over 12s have now had at least one jab, compared to 72 percent a month ago.
The turnout in Urk is still the lowest in the country, but it rose from 28 percent in early October to 30 percent now. More people were also vaccinated in the municipalities of Renswoude, Alblasserdam, Tholen, Barneveld, Hardinxveld-Giessendam, Scherpenzeel, Altena, Sliedrecht, Rijssen-Holten, Veenendaal, and Ede.
The increased vaccination rate is mainly due to teenagers getting the shot. A month ago, 24 percent of 12 to 17-year-olds in Staphorst had received at least one jab, and now it's 31 percent. In Elburg, the turnout in that age group rose from 51 to 60 percent, in Zwartewaterland from 48 to 56 percent, in Bunschoten from 51 to 59 percent, in Rijssen-Holten from 51 to 58 percent, and in Hardinxveld-Giessendam from 44 to 50 percent.
Here too, Urk was and remains the laggard. About 9 percent of 12 to 17-year-olds on the former island are vaccinated. A month ago, it was 7 percent.
The turnout is also increasing among teenagers in the large cities. In Amsterdam, 48 percent of 12 to 17-year-olds have had at least one jab, compared to 43 percent. In The Hague, it increased from 48 to 53 percent.
Reporting by ANP