After Weeks of Decreased Vaccination Rates in the United States, I went back to June. Will the Momentum Last?
As of April 8, more than 4.3 million people in the United States have received a dose of COVID-19 vaccine. But after that peak, the numbers began to decline. As of June 3, the national average of seven days for given day strokes had dropped to 850,000.
But after that – with weeks to go before the Fourth of July, the date to that President Joe Biden wanted to 70% of American adults have gotten at least one stroke – the numbers have started to grow. June 7, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data, the average of seven days for daily vaccinations has also broken a million. It declined a little later, but was still close to 900,000 on June 15th.
While it’s common for everyday numbers to go up and down, it’s a little surprising that this uptick will happen months after COVID-19 shots become widely available for American adults. The supply of vaccines now exceeds demand. To keep the shots at gunpoint, several states have eliminated appointment requirements; open mobile clinics and in collaboration with community organizations in areas with low vaccine intake; and slope incentives and rewards in numbers for those who are vaccinated.
But Loren Lipworth-Elliot, associate director of the epidemiology division at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, says there may be a partial explanation that has nothing to do with these efforts: By mid-May, children as young as 12 at 15 years old he became eligible to receive the blow from Pfizer-BioNTech.
There are about 17 million American teenagers in that age group, according to at the Kaiser Family Foundation. As of June 21, 28% of them had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and almost 18% had been completely vaccinated. This means that nearly 8 million strokes have been given in that age group alone in the last six weeks. “That’s definitely part of what we’ve seen,” says Lipworth-Elliot.
Dr. Mark Roberts, director of the Public Health Dynamics Laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health, agrees that children’s vaccinations are part of the explanation — but they’re probably not all, he says. “It simply came to our notice then [for pediatric immunizations], but it won’t be huge, ”he says, because children ages 12 to 15 are only about 5% of the U.S. population.
It’s hard to say exactly what else drove the uptick review, but Roberts says it may have something to do with recent state-run incentive programs, such as lottery designs for vaccines. Ohio, for example, reported an increase of 28% in vaccinations during the two weeks following the announcement of his Vax-a-Million lottery in May, compared to the week before the announcement.
Trends vary greatly from state to state, adds Lipworth-Elliot. States with relatively low vaccination rates, such as Florida, Tennessee and Alabama, are among those that have seen recent increases in vaccination, while daily accounts are logically abandoned in areas where most eligible people are already protected. And while vaccination rates are still lower in Blacks and Latinos than in whites in the United States, federal data suggest the defect is reduced slightly, led in particular by the Hispanic / Latino population. Both trends, says Lipworth-Elliot, suggest that health officials are improving to bring vaccines to the populations that need them and to eradicate the hesitation of vaccines by building trust in communities.
The fact that the CDC now says that fully vaccinated people can safely go without a mask, socialize indoors and travel it may also be encouraging some attacks to vaccinate, says Lipworth-Elliot. “People see that there is a lot of freedom and freedom given to vaccinated people, for good reason,” he says. TIME / Harris Poll data they also suggest that the CDC’s mask guide encouraged some people to get vaccinated because they were concerned about the risks that others would go without a mask in public.
It is too early to say whether the positive moment will continue; both Lipworth-Elliot and Roberts warn that variations in vaccination data are common, and that it will take time to see how trends develop. Already, daily averages are lower than two weeks ago.
But there are reasons for optimism. The shots may become available for children even under 12 from the fall, which would open up a whole new section of the population to vaccination. It’s in a recent one Gallup poll, about one-fifth of adult respondents who said they did not think they were vaccinated – a group equivalent to about 5% of the U.S. adult population – said they were open to changing their minds. With about 65% of American adults already vaccinated with at least one dose, building confidence even in that small group could be the difference between making or breaking Biden’s Independence Day goal.