‘Not surprised’: Holmes County reporting lowest COVID-19 vaccination numbers in Ohio

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HOLMES COUNTY, Ohio (WJW) — Ohio is reporting more than 1,400 new cases of COVID-19. But even as coronavirus and the delta variant continue to spread, the state’s full vaccination rate remains flat at 49%.

And one county is not only reporting the lowest vaccination numbers in the state, but some of the lowest vaccination rates in the country.

According to Ohio’s COVID-19 Dashboard only 15.62% of Holmes County residents are vaccinated, with only 13 people getting the shot over the last 24 hours.

“I’m not surprised to be quite honest,” said Liana Kettlewell.

Most residents in historic downtown Millersburg Wednesday night told FOX 8 that they aren’t surprised by the low numbers. Many believe it has to do with the large Amish population.

The greater Holmes County region has well over 36,000 Amish residents.

“The Amish don’t believe in getting vaccines overall, but even the rest of the population aren’t overly into getting the vaccine either,” said Kettlewell.

Liana and her husband are among those who are fully vaccinated.

“I’ve got some of my friends that don’t want it, but I’m someone who is actually immune compromised so I had to get it,” said Rick Kettlewell.

Another mom told us she and her family were waiting to get the vaccine for a couple of reasons. For starters Summer Soto said, they all already had the virus and recovered from it, but the bigger issue is that the vaccines are approved for emergency use only by the FDA.

“I honestly don’t want to put anything in my family’s body that’s not approved by the FDA,” said Soto, “A lot of my friends and family feel the same way I do … they’re worried about it.”

Gov. Mike DeWine’s Press Secretary Dan Tierney responded to the low numbers with the following statement: “We encourage all Ohioans to get the COVID-19 vaccine to protect themselves and their loved ones.”

We reached out to Holmes County leaders for comment, but were unable to reach anyone Wednesday night.

Anyone in Holmes County interested in getting the vaccine can contact the Holmes County General Health District at (330) 674-5035 or online right here.

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