MINOT, N.D. — Last week a coalition of activists, with shadowy ties to right-wing interests, held an anti-vaccine rally at the Capitol in Bismarck.

From that day to Nov. 11, which as I write this is the last date for which the Department of Health has released data, there were over 13,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered in North Dakota.

It may not seem like it, because the anti-vaxxers make so many headlines, and are so strident and omnipresent in venues like social media, but they're slowly losing this argument.

The average number of daily doses delivered in our state has been climbing. It hit a low in July, with just 699 doses delivered daily, but recovered to almost 2,300 daily doses in October.

The weekly averages are encouraging too. From Aug. 1 to 7, the state averaged just 961 doses per day. In the last week for which complete data is publicly available, from Oct. 31 to Nov. 6, that number was 3,344.

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Some of what's driving this acceleration in doses are expanded availabilities. Many people are now getting booster shots (85,312 delivered as of Nov. 11). Also, children ages 5 to 11 are now eligible for vaccination (they're at a 3.8% coverage rate so far).

But that's not the whole story. So far in November, our state has been averaging over 740 first-dose vaccinations per day.

That might be slow progress, but it's still progress.

There is a lesson in these numbers for both sides of the vaccine debate.

For the anti-vaxxers, it's that you're losing. The rally in Bismarck was intended to be a show of force. The organizers have tried to rebrand it as merely an anti-mandate rally, a tacit admission that the purely anti-vax position is untenable, but anyone who listened to the attendees, read the signs, and followed the social media discussion knows otherwise.


It was an anti-vaccine rally, and it represents the views of a dwindling minority of North Dakotans.

For the pro-vaxxers, the lesson is that we're winning, and perhaps some of the more heavy-handed policies aren't necessary. It can be frustrating dealing with anti-vax activists and the "research" they do reading memes on Facebook, but we can't lose sight of the fact that they're losing.

Every person who chooses to get a vaccine dose is another inch of ground lost by them.

What the pro-vaccine side of this debate needs to focus on is choice.

Employers need a choice when it comes to vaccine policies. Individuals need choice.

Given the room to choose, most people will eventually arrive at the right decision.

Perhaps not as quickly as we'd like, but we'll get there.

We are getting there.

One dose at a time.

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Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at rport@forumcomm.com.