Iâ€™ve been as hands-on as you can be with people from everywhere,â€ Erin said, as a motorboat thundered to the dock and another group of customers climbed out.
She said sheâ€™d heard a rumorâ€”common among vaccine skeptics but also plainly falseâ€”that â€œmore people are dying from getting the vaccine this week.â€.
Boaters dock outside Backwater Jack's on Lake of the Ozarks in Osage Beach, Mo., Saturday, July 24, 2021.
In the Lake of the Ozarks region, where Missourians and out-of-staters pour in to boat, fish, sunbathe and party, to be unvaxxed is a source of identity andâ€”at timesâ€”pride, a totem of oneâ€™s independence and politics.
Homes and private docks line coves at Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri.
Patrons swim in the Lake of the Ozarks at Franky & Louie's Beachfront Bar & Grill in Sunrise Beach, Mo., on Saturday, July 24, 2021.
Itâ€™s not like I was doing anything mean or inappropriate, I just had a plain black mask on.â€ An employee at the Ha Ha Tonka State Park Visitors Center, in the Lake of the Ozarks area, Hanlon says she wears a mask while interacting with roughly 600-700 people a week there.These momentsâ€”evidence of how social pressures can often pull people away from public safety measuresâ€”underscore the hurdles the Biden administration now faces as it battles a resurgence of the virus across the country.
Single shot vaccinations for adults in the three counties within the Lake of the Ozarks regionâ€”Camden, Miller and Morganâ€”stood at 46 percent, 35 percent and 42 percent, respectively, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Those interviewed here had various reasons for not getting the vaccine.
McNay, as he sat at Shorty Pants Lounge, another packed venue less than 15 minutes away from Backwater Jackâ€™s.
A boy plays with a Trump flag near a Confederate flag at a stand selling mostly pro-Trump items on Bagnell Dam Boulevard in Lake Ozark, Mo.
Pedestrians are seen along the tourist area on the Bagnell Dam Strip in Lake Ozark, Mo.
Even so, Jane Ferris said the vaccine hadnâ€™t been studied long enough and she didnâ€™t want to be a â€œguinea pig.â€?Like other places with low vaccination rates, there is a deep distrust of authority that exists among those at the Lake of the Ozarks.â€œNow people are getting vaccinated and mysteriously you can take the average scanner and scan your arm,â€ Kenny Hubbard, a Backwater Jackâ€™s customer says in a Southern drawl.
In the current vaccine push, some people see an attempt to diminish the former president they love.
Shiman did get the vaccine, in part because Donald Trump was behind developing it, he said.â€œAll this bullshit about people getting sick, look around,â€ he gestured over to the crowded pool, â€œSee any masks here in Missour-ah.
Boaters fish on Lake of the Ozarks near Bagnell Dam in Lake Ozark, Mo., Saturday, July 24, 2021In fact, many people in Missouri are getting very sick, and theyâ€™re almost all unvaccinated
Less than 100 miles away from the Ozarks region, in Springfield, an all-hands on deck effort has been launched to fight the pandemic once moreThatâ€™s prompted the vaccination rate to creep up past 40 percent, not nearly enough to reach herd immunity, said Springfieldâ€™s mayor, Ken McClureâ€œWeâ€™re hearing a lot of anecdotal stories of young people, no underlying health condition going in with no vaccination and theyâ€™re dead within a few days,â€ McClure said
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