Anti-vaxxers are the Biden Administrations Next Target
- Just under half of adults in the U.S. said in December they were very likely to get vaccinated, according to a new CDC study.
- That’s up from 39.4% of adults surveyed in September but still below the 70% to 85% scientists say is needed to suppress the virus.
- That could potentially jeopardize U.S. vaccination efforts to control the pandemic, which has overwhelmed hospitals and taken more than 466,000 American lives in about a year.
Wendy Borger tested positive for Covid-19 at an urgent care center in Palmerton, Pennsylvania, on Dec. 28. She said she was fatigued, short of breath, and had a headache, heart palpitations and a fever of 103 degrees Fahrenheit. Her oxygen level dipped to 94%.
Borger, who is 50 and suffers from chronic bronchitis, said her lungs felt like a “weapon” when she walked down the stairs or even had a shower. It took almost two weeks before it didn’t hurt to breathe, she said. It’s been more than a month since her diagnosis, and she still isn’t fully recovered.
Despite her suffering, she still won’t get a Covid-19 vaccine shot.
“I’m not a believer in the flu shot, either. I just think that our body needs to fight off things naturally,” Borger, a self-described anti-vaxxer, told CNBC. “I mean, like me, you know, luckily I survived. It was bad, but I survived.”
As President Joe Biden works to ramp up the supply of Covid-19 vaccines in the United States, public health officials and infectious disease experts warn of another big challenge for the new administration: A significant portion of the U.S. population will likely refuse to get vaccinated.
Even though clinical trial data shows Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines are safe and highly effective, just under half of adults in the U.S. surveyed in December said they were very likely to get vaccinated, according to a new study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s up from 39.4% of adults surveyed in September but still below the 70% to 85% scientists say needs to be vaccinated to suppress the virus.
That could potentially jeopardize U.S. vaccination efforts to control the pandemic, which has overwhelmed hospitals and taken more than 466,000 American lives in about a year. Without so-called herd immunity, the virus will continue to spread from person to person and place to place for years to come, scientists have said.
Roughly 33 million out of some 331 million Americans have received at least their first dose of Pfizer’s or Moderna’s two-dose Covid-19 vaccines, according to data compiled by the CDC. And 9.8 million of those people have already gotten their second shot.
The goal, according to Biden’s chief medical advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci, is to vaccinate between 70% and 85% of the U.S. population — or roughly 232 million to 281 million people — to achieve herd immunity and suppress the pandemic.
“The concern I have, and something we’re working on, is getting people who have vaccine hesitancy, who don’t want to get vaccinated,” he said at a White House press briefing last month.
To be sure, the rollout has been slow going. County websites have been overloaded by people who desperately want to be immunized, and manufacturing isn’t yet fully ramped up. But the one thing that time and money can’t as easily solve is persuading people to take the vaccine.
Some of the vaccines are still sitting on shelves “because of very real vaccine hesitancy that does exist in certain communities,” Loyce Pace, a member of Biden’s now-disbanded transition Covid-19 advisory board, said during a webcast Jan. 14. The Biden administration has to work to get “people to line up for these vaccines when their time comes because we know that will be a critical component to getting on the other side of this crisis,” she added.
Nationally, about 60% of employees at long-term care facilities who were offered the shots through a federal program run by Walgreens and CVS Health declined to get them, according to Rick Gates, the head of pharmacy and health care at Walgreens. Just 20% of the residents turned down the doses, he said Tuesday. Read Full Article >