One Utah county hopes coronavirus vaccine doses are in everyone’s horoscopes.
The tweet Tuesday sparked a wave of social media indignation at deeply private Scorpios (the least vaccinated) and seemed to give attention-craving Leos (the most vaccinated) one more reason to pat themselves on the back. Vaccination coverage varied widely by sign.
The public response to the post has been overwhelmingly positive, said Nicholas Rupp, communications manager at the Salt Lake County Health Department — and a vaccinated Scorpio. Local media outlets including the Salt Lake Tribune first reported the story.
“Astrological signs are tribal,” Rupp told The Washington Post. “They bring out a competitiveness in people because nobody wants their sign to be ranked lowest, even if you don’t believe in astrology.”
But astrologer Narayana Montúfar says some of the rankings make sense — at least according to simplified assessments of the characteristics of people’s sun signs.
The two most-vaccinated signs, Leo, a fire sign with 70 percent fully vaccinated, and Aquarius, an air sign with 67 percent, are “super people-oriented,” said Montúfar, a senior astrologer at Horoscope.com and Astrology.com, and author of “Moon Signs: Unlock Your Inner Luminary Power.” “King of the jungle” Leos, for instance, like to be the center of attention, “admired and surrounded by their people,” while Aquarius is the sign that “relates most to community and social work,” Montúfar said. Aquarians, she added, are also “techie” and generally tend to embrace innovation.
It’s not surprising that other signs with high vaccination rates are Aries and Sagittarius, both of which are also fire signs and known to be social, she said. “They’re just like, ‘I don’t want anything to stop me from hanging out with my friends.’ ”
Similarly, one might expect to find wellness-minded Virgos, 50 percent, and privacy-seeking Scorpios, 46 percent, at the bottom of the list, Montúfar said. Virgos, she said, are often very concerned about health and may be hesitant to receive a coronavirus vaccine because they’re trapped in “analysis paralysis.” Meanwhile, Scorpios probably “don’t even want to disclose information” about their vaccination status, she said.
To determine these numbers, the county’s health department compared the anonymized birth dates of vaccinated residents with data on the national distribution of astrological signs — something Rupp said “we wouldn’t normally do if this were an actual scientifically valid study,” because national and local sign distribution may differ.
But, he said, the point of the “analysis” was to get people talking about vaccines — even if it’s to compete among one another about it.
“The whole purpose of the 10 minutes it took to come up with this was to get the conversation going about vaccination in this time when we’re having message fatigue around vaccination,” Rupp said.
On social media, users celebrated or commiserated with others who share the same signs as them, with many calling out Scorpios. But Montúfar, a vaccinated Scorpio, pushed back on the denigration of Scorpios (the Tribune article, for example, called them “the most notoriously intense grudge-holders in the cosmos.”)
“It’s actually one of the most misunderstood signs,” she said. “Everyone thinks Scorpios are evil. No, they’re just private and like few people.”
Scorpio slander aside, Rupp said he’s gotten “a kick out of seeing all the Leos patting themselves on the back.”
“They are really proud of being number one, and that’s awesome,” he said. “That’s one of the things we hoped would come out of this conversation is people taking pride in doing the responsible thing for our community.”
Cities and states around the country have turned to various incentives to get Americans to get coronavirus vaccinesamid a decline in demand. Beer, bouquets and a Nissan are just some items on the list of incentives offered to Americans this year.
Businesses across the United States, including brewing companies, doughnut chains and more, also jumped on the national campaign by giving out freebies to the immunized, as governments and employers around the world tried to use tax breaks, airline tickets and other incentives to entice people to get immunized.
Public health officials cautioned early on in the vaccine rollouts that luring in apathetes could be the harder part.
Many Americans who want to — and can — get vaccinated have done so by now, and tackling problems of hesitancy, priority and access is vital to getting as many people as possible vaccinated.
According to officials, 678,431 people in Salt Lake County are fully vaccinated, which adds up to about 56 percent of local residents. That’s more than the statewide rate of 54 percent for Utah. But, Rupp noted, the county continues to struggle to bring up vaccination rates in certain populations, including teenagers and people who are 30 to 45 years old, as well as some “underserved, diverse and multicultural” communities.
The Salt Lake County Health Department reported 5,091 positive coronavirus tests in the community in the past 14 days. More than 86 percent were among unvaccinated people.
“I do want to emphasize that covid and the vaccine are not in any way influenced by astrological signs,” Rupp said. “So, please still get vaccinated — even if you’re a Scorpio.”
Ellen Francis contributed to this report.