Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte received his second dose of a COVID vaccine on Friday. He and other Republican leaders are encouraging all Montanans to get their shots.
In a video Gianforte released after getting his second dose he said, "I just got my second shot, I’m feeling great and I would just encourage folks to get out and get their shot. This is how we get through this together."
It takes two weeks after receiving the second dose before the body can build immunity against COVID-19.
Nearly 40% of Montanans have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine, but demand for shots is falling. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services survey data estimate at least a quarter of Montanans are hesitant about getting a COVID vaccine — one of the highest rates in the nation.
The problem is widespread in rural America, according to Ashley Kirzinger with the Kaiser Family Foundation.
"One in five rural residents say that they definitely do not want to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, and that’s almost twice as many as those living in urban and suburban areas," she said.
Kirzinger said vaccine resistant people tend to be Republicans and white evangelicals. However, a little over half of people on the fence about getting a vaccine are also Republican. She said that group is shrinking because they are getting vaccinated as they see more people get the shot.
Montana’s Republican Sen. Steve Daines, like Gianforte, continues to push vaccines as a way out of the pandemic.
"For me and my and my wife personally, we’ve led by example by getting the Pfizer vaccine," Daines said. "My parents have had the vaccine, my in-laws — they all live in Montana — have had the vaccine."