Reports from across the country are documenting that adult immunizations for COVID-19 are beginning to decrease at the same time opportunities for vaccination are increasing. This puts the end of the U.S. pandemic at risk.
First the good news — almost 50% of the population has had one dose of COVID-19 vaccine! In addition, 70% of individuals over the age of 65 are now fully immunized, the level most feel will protect the population when activities are normalized.
Despite this impressive achievement, overall, only 38% (slightly over one third) of people over 18 years of age are fully immunized. This is only half the 70% that the country needs to feel comfortable with normalizing its activity. Importantly, our goal for vaccination is now clearly validated with the excellent studies that have come out of Israel that show fully immunizing 70% of the population allows normalization of activity.
What is also disconcerting is that many individuals are skipping the second shot of their RNA vaccine. This puts control of the pandemic at further risk in the U.S. since individuals with only a single RNA immunization are more likely to be infected or to spread infection than individuals who have received both shots.
The drop in immunization activity does not appear to be solely due to vaccine reluctance, although that certainly plays a part. Many individuals who haven’t been vaccinated have difficulty accessing the online sign up process or have problems with transportation and other social issues that prevent them from attending walk in clinics.
So far, the more connected and mobile individuals have been immunized so it may be even harder to get the vaccine to more isolated folks.
Let’s do what we can to help everyone in our community get vaccinated. And let’s not let bad websites, poor transportation, or the anti-vax folks prolong the pandemic or prevent us all from reaching the end.