Reducing daily levels of vaccination against Covid-19 has left the US public health authorities with a new problem – how to effectively reduce operations.
In the campaign to immunize all adult Americans against the coronavirus, most of the difficulties so far are related to huge demand and limited supply. Now that less than a third of Americans are fully vaccinated, local public health authorities describe a sense of shock when they head from mass vaccination clinics to outreach campaigns, all within weeks.
“We he knew that when people became eligible, people ready for a vaccine,, or impatient, [would] get out now, ”said Mary Joe Brogna, director of nursing at Harbor Health Services, which runs a community clinic in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
“Achieving the final herd immunity rate, which is estimated to be at least 70% of all adults, will depend on the scope and resolution of any fluctuations in the vaccine,” Brogna said.
For most of 2021, the history of the vaccine campaign is in great demand. Emergency authorities seized stadiums, large box shops and community centers working with dozens of nurses and volunteers to inoculate thousands of people a day.
But in the last two weeks, daily vaccinations in the United States have peaked, falling from a high of 3.2 million daily vaccines a day to 2.5 million. National health authorities are now experiencing what red states like Mississippi and Wyoming are beginning to see early signs of – a big delay.
“We started with mass clinics across the country, and those mass clinics worked very well for the elderly,” said Gary Edwards, executive director of the Salt Lake County Health Department in Utah.
However, he said, “we got to the point and it was very interesting how quickly it happened that the mass clinic model did not reach the segment of the population we were trying to reach,” Edwards said.
The phenomenon is repeated throughout the country. Local authorities in Los Angeles, California; Colorado; Florida; Nevada and Texas are ready to close mass vaccination sites by the end of May.
Georgia has already decided to close all its mass vaccination sites by the end of May, citing a lack of demand. The country lags far behind the nation in terms of vaccine use, with 34% of the population receiving at least one dose, compared to 43% nationally.
In Galveston, the director of public health apparently asked for a “pause” in the supply of vaccines, as he was worried that the area would not be able to use all those sent before they expired.
The reasons for the delay are nuanced, most experts say.
Vaccination fluctuations, especially among conservatives and racial minorities, play a role. But there are also difficulties with scheduling and transportation, as adults of working age lag far behind older ones in terms of vaccination levels.
One of the most notable trends in the immunization campaign is the relatively low levels of vaccination among adults aged 18-49. In this age group, 9-12% of people are fully vaccinated, compared to more than 27% among people aged 50-64.
“I had a patient the other day trying to go through the online planning process with him, and we just kept hitting the wall,” said Dr. Ann Charoudi, a pediatric infectious disease specialist and professor at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. . .
Most importantly, it can also be one of the most important vaccination groups. In the summer of 2020, research in the journal Science found that adults between the ages of 20 and 49 are most likely to transmit the disease to more than one person.
“In this way, working adults who have to support themselves and their families have fueled the resurgence of epidemics in the United States,” concluded an international group of researchers. The same age group now appears to be managing cases in states such as California and Utah.
There is also a lack of absorption in conservative regions. CDC data show that states in the south and west have the highest levels of vaccine volatility and ingestion is significantly low in these countries. Numerous polls have now found that Republicans are more likely to say they will not be vaccinated.
Reaching out to these young Republicans and conservative groups is becoming a priority because it’s the difference between normalcy or less, “said Dr. Peter Hottes, a vaccine researcher and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College in Houston, Texas. . The lack of vaccine absorption, he said, “will not be homogeneously distributed. That means Covid-19 is turning into a red disease. ”
The politicization of the pandemic and the rejection of science on the right, especially by Donald Trump, have led many influential conservative experts to question Covid-19’s public health measures – from Tucker Carlson of Fox News to influential podcaster Joe Rogan.
“We need to get the anti-science out of the Republican Party,” Hottes said. “We need to help our conservative siblings.”
High levels of vaccine volatility are also blamed for supply and demand imbalances, such as in Illinois. But, as Cape Cod shows, the whole story is much more nuanced.
Barnstable County, known in the region as Cape, has the lowest vaccine variability in the country. It is estimated that only 6% of residents are a little hesitant, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The county has fired more shots than anyone else in Massachusetts, and 59% of people here have received at least one dose of the vaccine, compared to 43% in the country. Undoubtedly, this is a success story. However, demand has also stopped at Brogna clinics, and public health authorities are still trying to figure out why.
“We study our own patients,” Brogna said. “We turn around and look at patients who haven’t been vaccinated to say, ‘God, we’ve contacted you three times and noticed that you haven’t been vaccinated with Covid.’ Can we talk about this? “, She said.