So many available vaccine doses, so many ambivalent Americans
The US government is now shifting its attention to those willing to take the Covid-19 vaccine but who do not want to go out of their way
US President Joe Biden will trade ideas with US governors about how to vaccinate more Americans, after the number of people signing up for shots fell sharply over the last month.
Biden will meet the leaders of Massachusetts, Utah, Ohio, New Mexico, Maine and Minnesota virtually to discuss “innovative ways governors are working to get the people in their states vaccinated,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.
Biden has said the country has entered a new phase of its vaccination campaign as domestic demand weakens. The US is administering about 2.1-million shots per day, down from 3.4-million shots about a month ago, even though there’s enough supply to give more.
But working in the president’s favour: coronavirus cases are falling at an even faster pace than vaccinations. The US reported 21,767 new cases on Sunday, the lowest daily total since June 2020. In early April, the country was still averaging more than 60,000 new cases a day, according to CDC data.
The pool of people who will eagerly seek out an appointment to get a vaccine is all but exhausted, forcing the government to shift its attention to those willing to take it but who don’t want to go out of their way.
The administration’s moves include winding down mass vaccination clinics while steering more shots to rural and mobile sites. Some states are meanwhile trying carrots: West Virginia governor Jim Justice has proposed giving a $100 savings bond to anyone aged 16-35 years who gets a shot, while leaders in New Jersey, New Orleans and Washington, DC have offered beers and shots of liquor.
“We always expected we’d be in a different phase,” Psaki said Monday. “And it means we have to work extra hard to get into communities, to have partnerships with local doctors, with primary care physicians, to expand access, expand mobile units that are going into communities to get the supply out to people.”
Biden and his team have repeatedly dismissed any suggestion of requiring vaccination or creating a federal registry of people who have gotten their shots, instead focusing on increasing information about vaccine safety and efficacy and access to shots.
Biden’s latest target calls for 70% of US adults to receive at least one shot by July 4, compared to 58% who have gotten one as of now.
Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a Biden medical adviser, said reaching the president’s target would probably prevent major flare-ups later in 2021.
“The larger proportion of the population that’s vaccinated, the less likelihood that in a season like the coming fall or winter you’re going to see a significant surge,” Fauci said on NBC’s “Meet The press” on Sunday.
Bloomberg News. For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com
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