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Stories, Stats, Impacts: Wyoming Public Media is here to keep you current on the news surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

The Campbell County Commission votes against contracts for a COVID-19 information campaign

A nurse wearing gloves giving someone a vaccination shot in their arm.
Public Domain

The Campbell County Commission recently voted to deny two contracts that would have been used to conduct a COVID-19 vaccine education campaign.

The split three to two vote occurred at the commission's last meeting. Commissioners Colleen Faber, Del Shelstad, and Chairman Bob Maul voted against funding the contracts while D.G. Reardon and Rusty Bell voted in favor of them.

Despite voting to not accept the contracts, Bell said that the commission funding a vaccine information campaign was ultimately deemed unnecessary.

"Our board then decided that there's enough information out there and there's a lot of information out there on the vaccines," he said. "Most people have probably made up their minds whether they're going to get it or not."

There were also concerns that an education campaign would be seen as too mandate-like.

"I think that our whole board is opposed to a mandate, I really do believe that, that we all would have been better if there was a campaign that said, 'Hey, here's the information, do what's best for you, do what’s best for your family, but we're not mandating anything'," Bell said. "I think that the board really wanted to make sure that wasn't going to be part of that."

Local public health officials stated their support for an educational campaign and claimed there would be nothing mandated on the public as part of it.

The contracts would have been issued to two local businesses, which would have been involved in printing materials, among others, for the campaign. The combined value would have been valued at approximately $100,000, which would have come from federal COVID-19 relief funds that the commission had already approved of.

Bell said that despite the contracts being denied, Public Health can still use the funds how they deem necessary, as long as costs don't exceed $1,500. He said anything over this amount requires approval from the county commission.

Hugh Cook is Wyoming Public Radio's Northeast Reporter, based in Gillette. A fourth-generation Northeast Wyoming native, Hugh joined Wyoming Public Media in October 2021 after studying and working abroad and in Washington, D.C. for the late Senator Mike Enzi.

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