Idahoans have always been proud of their heritage as tough, independent, can-do people. It’s time to honor that heritage, cowboy up and get vaccinated.

Unless COVID-19 vaccination rates increase, Idaho will see a re-run of the bad old days last year when infection rates rose in the fall and spiked high enough to nearly overwhelm hospitals in the winter.

The Delta variant of the virus is beginning to spread rapidly among unvaccinated people who have not gotten the very effective vaccines with few side effects that are available in this country.

Unfortunately, vaccines became tinged with a red-blue political hue early on.

The Kaiser Family Foundation’s vaccine monitor that tracks public attitudes found in June that two-thirds of Democrats reported living in all-vaccinated households while nearly four in 10 Republicans (39%) reported living in all-unvaccinated households.

Idaho is overwhelmingly Republican, but this week it looked like the party’s national leaders began to recognize the consequences of sidestepping science and failing to confront others like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis who has touted vaccines while also selling merchandise imprinted with “Don’t Fauci My Florida.”

On Monday, U.S. stocks that are part of the Dow Jones Industrial Average took a 725-point dive at the sight of increasing number of infections and fears of what the Delta variant could do to the economy.

The dive got a lot of attention because it could be a preview of what is to come.

On Tuesday, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell led a growing conservative movement to urge people to get vaccinated. He said they should ignore voices that are giving bad advice about the vaccines.

Idaho’s senators and congressional representatives should put their backs into this new conservative push.

They should spread the word about the benefits of the vaccines. They should invest their political capital by urging people to talk to their doctors and helping allay their fears.

To date, Idaho leaders’ urgings have been tepid at best, a wink and a nod to naysayers who claim that vaccinations encroach on their freedom.

The facts of the virus last winter, which included heavily burdened medical care, shuttered businesses and closed schools, are history we don’t have to repeat.

Idahoans need to slap on their cowboy hats, cinch down their chaps and hightail it to the nearest vaccine center.

We can protect kids for whom vaccines are not yet approved and help everyone rediscover how great ordinary life can be without being stalked by a viral villain that is up to no good.

“Our View” represents the opinion of the newspaper editorial board, which is made up of members of its board of directors. Remarks may be directed to

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