Has America Reached Peak Vaccination?

The rate at which Americans are getting COVID shots is slowing rapidly.

An Axios report claims “America is hitting its vaccination ceiling.”

The U.S. appears to be reaching its ceiling on COVID-19 vaccinations, at least among adults.

[…]

“We’ve hit the wall in the number of vaccinations in recent weeks,” Eric Topol, director and founder of the Scripps Research Translational Institute told Axios. “Just trying to deduce from other countries where we’re headed, if we don’t get a big jump up in our vaccination rate, we’re going to be vulnerable for a lot more cases,” Topol said, adding that comes with increased hospitalization, long COVID and death.

The report links to an Our World in Data tracking of “Share of the total population that received at least one vaccine dose,” Noting that “This may not equal the share that are fully vaccinated if the vaccine requires two doses” and that “This data is only available for countries which report the breakdown of doses administered by first and second doses.” On the surface, we’re doing pretty well:

Note that this is share of total population, not adult population or vaccine-eligible population. The US has considerably more of its population under 14 and less of its population in the especially-vulnerable over-65 demographics than most of those with higher rates. Israel is the sole exception but they have a tiny population and made a heroic effort to get them vaccinated quickly.

Still, it’s reasonable to be concerned about the future. None of the countries above us has politicized the virus and vaccination to anything like the absurd degree that we have. There are giant sectors of the country that think COVID is an overhyped flu and/or that vaccination is some sort of conspiracy.

Roughly 67% of American adults have had at least one shot, and 58% are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC. There’s no magic number that determines herd immunity. Experts put out estimates between 60% to 70% early in the pandemic, but they’ve since revised those estimates, in some cases to at least 85%, with the increase in variants.

The U.S. hit its peak in April, when CDC data shows more than 4.4 million doses were distributed in a single day. The nationwide average has now fallen to about 500,000 shots per day.

“If we continue to let this pandemic run wild… there is a probability that there will eventually be a variant against which the vaccines will be less effective,” Saad Omer, director of the Yale Institute for Global Health said in a blog earlier this year.

Again, that’s a reasonable prediction.

One of the most at-risk groups who need targeting includes young adults between the ages of 18 and 30 years old who “feel bulletproof,” Cornell virologist John Moore told Axios. They need to hear the message that “this bullet could hit you,” Moore said.

We’ve been hearing that message for a year and a half. We shut down schools and businesses for a year. People who haven’t gotten the message aren’t going to.*

Beyond that, the U.S. is simply fighting an uphill battle as vaccine attitudes continue to track with political sentiment. Moore pointed to a dearth of celebrities encouraging the vaccine, likely because they worry about the fallout.

I’m not sure which celebrity endorsement would matter at this point. Maybe country music stars and NASCAR drivers?

Topol pointed to two additional groups: those who’d get a vaccine if mandated by their employer and those who say they’ve held back on getting a vaccine while it’s still under emergency use authorization. In both cases, full approval of the COVID-19 vaccine by the FDA would move things along. Schools, businesses and even the military have been reluctant to mandate shots under an EUA, even though the federal government has said it is allowed. The gap between an EUA and full authorization is a “distinction without a difference,” Moore said, but some people who don’t understand the process may feel more comfortable with full authorization.

A recently leaked memorandum from high up in Army circles indicated that the service plans to mandate vaccines once full authorization comes, probably in the fall. One presumes the rest of the Defense Department and, indeed, all federal agencies would follow. I’m frankly surprised that it hasn’t happened already. Still, we had a 97% vaccination rate in our schoolhouse by the time graduation hit last month, with only a handful of students and none of the faculty refusing. It’s mostly junior enlisted personnel who are refusing service-wide.

Similarly, there has been no word as to whether the local public schools will require COVID vaccines for faculty, staff, and students. Considering that they’re requiring my 12-year-old to get the HPV vaccine as a condition of starting middle school, it seems more than reasonable to do so.

As of today, she’s “fully vaccinated,” having gotten her second Pfizer dose two weeks ago. We’re still awaiting approval for my 10-year-old.

*UPDATE: Hot Air’s Allahpundit is a bit less skeptical on this front and thinks the Feds should do more to go after those who are unvaccinated, even if it means going door-to-door.

I’d imagine the feds will focus on poorer areas where people don’t pay as much attention to the news as the average American does. Maybe those locals know that the nearest Wal-Mart has the shots, but maybe they don’t. Maybe they’re curious about the shot but have questions and haven’t focused on getting those questions answered, and getting to talk to an official face-to-face might help. Maybe they work long hours and have to take care of kids when they’re off and haven’t had the time or focus to go get vaccinated, but might say yes if the shots were brought to them. Maybe they’re housebound due to some health issue.

The point is, some people will agree to get vaxxed if officials come to their door.

Alas, he also notes that the outrage machine fueled by Fox News and grandstanding Republican politicians makes this an uphill fight and, potentially, dangerous.

In the end, though, the probable reason why the door-to-door campaign will either never be launched or will happen in only a limited fashion is that there are enough militant anti-vaxxers out there that it’s easy to imagine some well-meaning health official getting blown away for ringing the wrong doorbell. Think of the viral videos we’ve seen since the start of the pandemic of nuts spazzing out at Costco or wherever when told they need to wear a mask to enter. Now imagine an agent of the state showing up at their own home, simply offering to help in case they want the vaccine but haven’t had an opportunity, and getting attacked for doing so. If even a guy as normally sober and genial as Dan Crenshaw is engaged in theatrical outrage about this, imagine how someone who’s genuinely unhinged would respond. This country’s too broken for a door-to-door operation.

That, alas, is entirely possible.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, COVID-19
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. HarvardLaw92 says:

    There are giant sectors of the country that think COVID is an overhyped flu and/or that vaccination is some sort of conspiracy.

    As with many things, they’ll need hard evidence (getting sick) to force them to change their minds. They’re big on personal responsibility (speaking honestly, as am I), so let them take responsibility for their choices. There is a point where you can’t further save people from their own stupidity. We’re there.

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  2. Teve says:

    If even a guy as normally sober and genial as Dan Crenshaw is engaged in theatrical outrage about this, imagine how someone who’s genuinely unhinged would respond.

    I’ve literally never seen Dan Crenshaw speak, where he wasn’t telling a lie.

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  3. James Joyner says:

    @HarvardLaw92: The problem with that is that unvaccinated people make things more dangerous for those who can’t get vaccinated (like my 10-year-old) and, as noted in my follow-up post, significantly increase the danger that even those of us who are vaccinated will get sick from a new variant. So, it’s not simply a matter of letting people suffer the consequences of their own choices; they’re imposing significant negative externalities on the rest of us.

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  4. Sleeping Dog says:

    @James Joyner:

    …unvaccinated people make things more dangerous for those who can’t get vaccinated…

    True, but the cohort of those not eligible for vaccination will continue to shrink in the coming months, if not weeks. The only thing government can do to truly boost vax rates is to grant final FDA approval then schools and employers can begin requiring vaccinations.

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  5. charon says:

    So, it’s not simply a matter of letting people suffer the consequences of their own choices; they’re imposing significant negative externalities on the rest of us.

    If that’s your concern, getting adequate supplies of vaccine into India, Brazil, Africa etc. is much more important than worrying about a few doofuses in Branson and Las Vegas.

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  6. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @James Joyner:

    I agree, but that (valid) argument has been out there for a while now. It hasn’t moved them an inch. The choices are basically either let them get sick or forcibly vaccinate them at this point (which obviously isn’t going to happen). If they were going to be convinced by appeals to reason, they’d already have been. I think we’re at a point where we just have to accept that it will get worse before it gets better.

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  7. Here in Chicago about 50% of the population has been vaccinated. However, only about a third of African Americans here have been vaccinated. The reasons for that are complicated but that’s why I welcome the PSAs primarily targeting the African American population. A much larger percentage of the African American population here needs to be vaccinated.

    IMO the single greatest factor among African Americans as well as with rural white Americans is trust in the system—trust in the government, trust in the healthcare system, etc.

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  8. gVOR08 says:

    @James Joyner: Right. They’re not just a risk to themselves. The unvaccinated are still a public health problem. People say it’s like motorcycle helmets or seat belts, if people choose not to wear them, it’s only themselves at risk. But head trauma isn’t contagious.

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  9. Kathy says:

    I don’t get the lack of trust issue. Hundreds of millions of people have been vaccinated, and the data are coming in every day. There have been no serious negative effects, and people who are vaccinated are both less likely to catch and spread COVID. come, a relative handful of blood clotting cases were front page news for weeks.

    I could get that argument when the vaccines began to be rolled out in December, and even understood a desire to wait and see what happens. But after 7 months of mass vaccinations, it’s clear there are no issues with the vaccines, especially the mRNA ones.

    BTW, for the next pandemic, the US needs: 1) a law allowing the federal government to set quarantine, mask, lockdown, and other preventive measures nationally (yes, this can be abused), 2) vaccine passports once vaccines are rolled out, which might be the only incentive likely to work well.

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  10. Teve says:

    @Kathy: A relative of mine is refusing because “It causes blood clots!” and she absolutely refuses to listen to me. She’s 70, so we’ll see if that changes when one of her friends dies.

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  11. KM says:

    @David Schuler:

    IMO the single greatest factor among African Americans as well as with rural white Americans is trust in the system—trust in the government, trust in the healthcare system, etc.

    The thing is, a PSA or info campaign isn’t going to erase that concern when that concern doesn’t stem from lack of reassuring data. When the source of lack of trust is that you simply don’t trust them (rightly or wrongly), it’s all just words or background noise. As @HL92 notes, we’re rapidly running out of the persuadable or vulnerable folk and bouncing up against the stubborn ones.

    We’ve seen over the last few years you can’t cure conspiracy theorists with facts and sadly, insisting the government is going to use you as a guinea pig because they once did so to the Tuskegee victims *is* a conspiracy theory. How can you prove to someone who thinks you might be poisoning them / chipping them/ using them as an experiment because of their race or economic status that you’re not after almost a year of trying? How can you talk someone into something when they already are primed to believe nonsense from FB like it magnetizes you instead of actual medical advice? They’re not going to listen to a PSA over their friend who just forwarded a meme about Gates and 5G, especially if they’re inclined to distrust whomever is producing the PSA. Vaccines are widely available now – it’s might be difficult for someone with limited access to travel methods or a tight schedule to get but that only means it’s not a priority for them when they can.

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  12. mattbernius says:

    @James Joyner:

    significantly increase the danger that even those of us who are vaccinated will get sick from a new variant. So, it’s not simply a matter of letting people suffer the consequences of their own choices; they’re imposing significant negative externalities on the rest of us.

    Additionally, there is the strain that the hospitalized unvaccinated folks will place on medical systems leading to a lowering in the overall quality and availability of care for vaccinated folks in areas where there is a spike in infections.

    The reality is that rugged individualism doesn’t work the way we think it does because we all live in communities.

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  13. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @mattbernius:

    The reality is that rugged individualism doesn’t work the way we think it does because we all live in communities.

    I think we’ll find that these folks are “rugged individuals” right up until the moment they actually get sick, whereupon they’ll magically transform into “Do something! I want help and I want it now. Why wasn’t I protected?”

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  14. Kathy says:

    You know what would work? An aerosol version of the vaccine that could be sprayed on vaccine deniers.

    Yes, I know the problems with allergies and immunocompromised people.

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  15. charon says:

    My linky still showing rising new cases (per capita) in United States and U.S. South and Midwest regions.

    https://91-divoc.com/pages/covid-visualization/

    I expect most kiddos under 12 will still be unvaccinated when school start back up.

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  16. charon says:

    https://twitter.com/prchovanec/status/1412746797609521159

    Scroll down a few tweets to find this:

    Patrick Chovanec
    @prchovanec
    ·
    Jul 7
    64.4% of all qualified Americans (age 12 or older) have received at least one vaccine shot; 55.5% are now fully vaccinated.

    Over 85 million American adults (32.9%) and nearly 16 million qualified children (63.6%) have not received any vaccination.

    The number of Americans receiving their first vaccine shots continues to decline to its lowest levels since the effort began in December.

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  17. KM says:

    We need to face facts : it’s no longer an access problem but an intent issue. We can’t force people to change their minds or accept truth, only give them to tools to do so if they choose.

    One of the things I’ve noticed lately is how people are getting visibly upset that liberals, medical personnel and public health officials are increasingly accepting a “let ’em die if they really want” attitude to policy instead of the usual “OMG must save them all”. Yes, in an ideal world we’d push and educate and do everything possible to max out the vax rate but after a year of mass death, suffering and stress, they’ve come to the conclusion that it’s just not feasible and worth burning ourselves out to change. There’s a lot of doctors and nurses out there who now have PTSD or other mental issues they didn’t before this happened and still society demands they continue on to care for idiots dying a preventable death. Increasingly, the response to this is “then deal with the consequences and it’s your own damn fault”.

    This seems to bother folks who are used to said folks being the adults in the room and doing their utmost to contain the damage or stop the destruction before it starts; after all, if nobody’s the adult telling you not to play with fire, the house tends to burn down. They are now shocked those adults are standing there going “yep, you’re gonna be homeless now, what did you expect?” instead of rushing to take the matches away. Turns out that’s if we start to take that reassuring safety net away, smarter people get nervous that suddenly the consequences of their own actions will hit them and they did it to themselves. Daddy won’t be coming to fix the mess they’ve made and it’s going to ruin their economy and kill a ton of their neighbors. They’re marginalizing themselves by creating a social class of Americans vulnerable to a disease on purpose, with all the economic and social turmoil being plague carriers can bring…. and liberals aren’t rushing in to fix it like they always do. There will be no last minute save like they’ve counted on for so long as we’re increasingly out of f*cks to give.

    You can’t save everyone – one of the harshest lessons anyone who’s ever worked in medicine will learn. You have to come to terms with it or it will break you; effort and empathy are fungible things and you’ll burn out quickly if you can’t utilize them properly. You can only do so much but if the patient is non-compliant and actively destructive, it’s very likely to end badly. If they want to marginalize themselves by trusting FB over the CDC, it’s gonna happen. If they want to stew in their own bad choices to own the libs, they will. Save your tears for the ones who didn’t choose stupidity or never had a chance.

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  18. charon says:

    The US administered 601,000 vaccine shots yesterday, bringing the total to 331 million, or 99.8 doses per 100 people. The 7-day moving average declined to 866,000 vaccine shots per day.

    https://twitter.com/prchovanec/status/1412746797609521159

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  19. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @KM:

    Clapping. Well said 🙂

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  20. charon says:

    @KM:

    If they want to stew in their own bad choices to own the libs, they will. Save your tears for the ones who didn’t choose stupidity or never had a chance.

    The U.S. will reach what will essentially amount to herd immunity, but through a combination of vaccination and people getting sick.

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  21. MarkedMan says:

    Here’s my guess: There will be a bump up of about 5% when 2-12 becomes eligible. When the FDA finally does a general approval there will be another 5-7% increase. This is where the incompetency of the Trump states actually benefit states like MD with a kind of accidental bank shot: the fact that the hospitals in, say, Missouri are overflowing and the death rate increasing is keeping the epidemic in the news and keeps people talking all over the country. That might not get through to the crazies but it has some chance of trickling down to the disconnected.

    I think we are way too focused on the deniers and Fox News loons. There is a significant number of the population who are just disconnected from most of the news and public discussion. They don’t have a regular health care provider and aren’t together enough to get informed, get scheduled at a vaccination site and follow through. I think there will be a continuous trickle of such people who more or less stumble on a vaccine and get it because it is there. They are difficult to reach but convincible if you do. This group is especially important in public health crises and it’s one that the CDC and other public agencies normally spend a lot of time with. That’s why it astounds me that the CDC basically said “F* you if you are not vaccinated.”

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  22. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I ran across this earlier. Map of the largest clusters of unvaccinated folks – collectively some 15 million people. I don’t disagree with your points, but I think there’s more at work here than just a disconnect. Given the siting, I’d imagine that the bulk of this is active avoidance / refusal.

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  23. James Joyner says:

    @MarkedMan:

    the CDC basically said “F* you if you are not vaccinated.”

    As noted both at the time and in the other thread this morning, that’s just not what they did. First, they were incentivizing vaccination by answering the obvious question “What’s the point of vaccination if I can’t return to normal?” Second, they correctly read the science: vaccinated people are extremely unlikely to get sick, even less likely to have severe symptoms if they do, and essentially don’t transmit the virus to others.

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  24. Kathy says:

    Some months ago, I heard a concerned maskhole say something stupid: We’re all going to get COVID, the question is whether we get it after taking the vaccine or not (he got it before, and nearly died in the ICU).

    Self-fulfilling prophecy aside, he was dead wrong. If you look at the numbers reported, total cases add up to under 200 million people. That’s really high, and denotes the massive failures of many countries, particularly in the West, to get a handle on it. But it represents under 3% of the world’s population.

    Assume the case count is off by a factor of ten (it probably is not off by anywhere near that much), and the total case number is 2 billion. A much higher number, but around 26% of the global population.

    What this all means is most people won’t get COVID, much less die from it. it also means most people will know someone who got COVID, and likely someone who died of it. It does not mean we’re all going to catch it, regardless of precautions or vaccination.

    One reason we’re not all going to get it is that it is a very bad disease, with a high death rate by modern infectious disease standards. Therefore a lot of people do take precautions and now get vaccinated. If it were only as bad as the common cold, then, yes, we’d all get it, but then we wouldn’t care much if we did. Almost the same would be true of a regular flu.

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  25. charon says:

    @KM:

    There was a piece in the Post a few days ago about health workers in Appalachia – southwest VA and northeast TN – pretty angry at the public there over the attitudes towards COVID.

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  26. Kathy says:

    @KM:

    It’s exactly like the joke of the guy who expects God to save him from the flood.

    These people have been given distancing measures, hygiene measures, masks, lock downs, and now vaccines, and they’ve rejected them all.

    So, other than forcibly vaccinating them, which would by now qualify as self-defense, what else can one do but let them catch the trump virus and let them suffer the consequences?

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  27. Neil J Hudelson says:

    Regarding Allahpundit’s suggestion for a door-to-door campaign, Biden has actually already announced such an effort is in the works.

    And just as predicted, here are the headlines. (I’m not including link so I don’t get stuck in moderation. I trust the readers’ google skills to find them.):

    Arizona Attorney General ‘alarmed’ by Biden’s door-to-door vaccination push.(The Hill)

    ‘Not on my watch’: Texas Republicans buck Biden’s door-to-door vaccine drive.”(Houston Chronicle)

    Parson: Feds not welcomed in Missouri for door-to-door vaccination campaign.(KCTV5, Missouri)

    My MIL and FIL are refusing to get the vaccine. After they’ve both contracted COVID. He lost a foot. She was laid low for 9 weeks, including a stay in the hospital. But the vaccine is ‘just too dangerous.” After we informed them that they could not visit they’re grandchildren while unvaccinated, since the children are both younger than 5 and can’t get vaccinated, they texted that it was “Sad that we were letting politics get in the way of family.”

    There’s no reasoning with these people. Screw em.

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  28. charon says:

    https://twitter.com/washingtonpost/status/1412816990008483842

    Focusing on GOP attitudes (i.e., pretty adament)

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  29. I’m not sure which celebrity endorsement would matter at this point.

    It is a legit question. I have seen more than one PSA from Nick Saban about people getting vaccinated–but as much as people love Bama football around here, we rank at the bottom for vaccinated states.

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  30. MarkedMan says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Whoa. I think you have found the long lost SSR Dumbfuckistan!

    I don’t think we have any real disagreement. In all states there are some number of people that just get swept up in the momentum of the highly motivated around them. In Trump states those highly motivated are more likely to be loons. And there are people in all states that would be willing to be vaccinated but just don’t have their shit together enough to make it so.

    My gut tells me there is enough of these latter to make a difference. And as for the former, my gut tells me some of them could be peeled away and put in a bubble of pro-vax enthusiasm for long enough to get at least one shot.

    Your gut tells you that the loons and outright deniers are most of what’s left.

    I have low-to medium confidence in my gut on this, so I’d normally go hunting for what the PH officials are saying. But from what I’ve read from them, the extreme politicization has knocked most of their models for a loop, so they don’t have a clear handle on how big the groups are.

    So, out of curiosity, how strong is your gut feeling on this?

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  31. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @MarkedMan:

    LOL @ Dumbfuckistan 😀

    I think that there are almost certainly some number of folks who can still be reached. Whether they’re enough to make a material difference, I legit just do not know. My gut tells me that most of the ones left unvaccinated are folks who have actively chosen not to be (and will continue to). I don’t have any real data to back that up, admittedly. I don’t think we should stop trying to convince folks where we can. I just don’t expect it to accomplish very much.

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  32. gVOR08 says:

    @Teve:

    A relative of mine is refusing because “It causes blood clots!”

    A brother in law of mine is still, after months, trying to clear blood clots in his lungs “the size of you fists”. They’re from COVID. He was trying to get vaccinated. His brother had died of COVID.

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  33. Kathy says:

    @Teve:
    @gVOR08:

    Some people just can’t be reached by fact and argument. They don’t know, and they don’t want to know. Or they have the wrong, simplistic information, and won’t let go of it no matter what. Or they go binary and forego al nuance and odds and possibilities.

    There’s also this mental defect, I don’t know how else to put it, where a nearby, dangerous and very likely threat is seen as less urgent than a remote, unlikely, less dangerous threat.

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  34. Nightcrawler says:

    We have reached peak vaccination. I agree that this country is too broken for a door-to-door effort. That would just get healthcare workers literally killed — for absolutely nothing. Nothing would change.

    I fully realize the implications of this. I also realize there’s nothing that can be done to fix it.

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  35. Nightcrawler says:

    @Neil J Hudelson:

    Yeah, I’ve been told I can’t just write off millions of people.

    Oh really? HOLD MY POT PIPE.

    I care about others as much as they do about me. No less, but not one iota more.

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  36. Nightcrawler says:

    @charon:

    I read that article. If I were them, I’d quit and go into a different profession. But then again, that’s why I didn’t go into human medicine in the first place. I’m too misanthropic.

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  37. Neil J Hudelson says:

    @Nightcrawler:

    HOLD MY POT PIPE.

    In the older, less bacchanalian days I find myself in now, this is a much more accurate expression. Stealing.

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  38. Stormy Dragon says:

    I’ve I mentioned before, my county has a particularly infuriating trend going on, that I wonder if it is being repeated elsewhere:

    More than 70% have gotten one vaccine dose, but only 48% are fully vaccinated. And this isn’t just a time lag issue, but it appears a large number of people got the first dose and never bothering to go get the second. I’m hoping this doesn’t come back to bite us in the future.

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  39. CSK says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    I was afraid this would happen with the double-dose vaccines. (It wasn’t an issue for me, since I got the J&J.) Everyone I know who received the Pfizer and Moderna went back for the second dose.

    A fair number of people may have seen the reports that the initial dose was 80% (or more, depending on which report you read) effective in preventing Covid-19 and said, “Ah, the hell with it; that’s good enough for me.”

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  40. Stormy Dragon says:

    Dark thought I’ve been having lately, because it’s actually pretty cruel, but I’m starting to think we’d have been better off long term if COVID19 had been more fatal.

    One of the big problems is that because of the high rate of asymptomatic carriers, the people being irresponsible aren’t the people bearing the cost of their irresponsibility. e.g. a bunch of people go to a wedding start a superspreader event, and all the people who were actually at the wedding are fine, but they end up killing hundreds of people who weren’t there but who got it from the guests.

    Same with the vaccine. If people don’t get a vaccine and get COVID, that’s on them, but they cause breakthrough cases with people who did and now they have to deal with the consequences of the anti-vaxxers intransigence or they spread it to children who can’t be vaccinated.

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  41. Jay L Gischer says:

    It’s less about them being stupid and more about them having a trusted source of information that is lying their ass(es) off to them. A set of people have taken pandering to the next level. Mostly it’s for profit, but it’s also for votes.

    As I watched “Day of Rage” from the NYT, my anger turned to something else where I just shook my head at how much falsehood had been consumed and acted upon.

    I personally feel what’s different between now, and say 2004 is social media. We had Fox News then as now, but we didn’t have social media, and by 2006, the absence of any WMD was understood by most. Somehow, social media fuels this in a powerful way and just keeps the whole thing going, pumping up the rage. I think it’s a combination of lack of accountability (only the marks see the disinformation), increased credibility (it’s right there with your cousin’s cat pictures), and the algorithm’s ability to figure out which lies you like to see.

    Vax resistance has always been a thing, but social media is an amplifier.

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  42. Sleeping Dog says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    HL, what is happening in France? A few months ago there were reports of high level of vaccine resistance, but that was being overshadowed by the EU’s trumpian incompetence in acquiring and distributing vaccines.

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  43. grumpy realist says:

    The one thing I can see that could change the percentages considerably is if health insurance companies stopped providing payouts for anything COVID-related if you didn’t get vaccinated (and didn’t have another good reason such as immune system problems keeping you from getting the shots.)

    A lot of it is going to boil down to what the final “dull roar” level of COVID in the background will be like. If it’s low, the health insurance companies probably won’t care. But if the number of non-vaccinated idiots getting COVID (and requiring payments out) is high enough, there’s going to be a lot of squealing from both the for-profit hospitals and the health insurance companies. Especially if the health insurance companies say “well, we’re going to have to hike insurance costs by 3 times on everyone because of covering COVID.”

    At some time, the stupidity will come home to roost. The red states are already seeing the start of this.

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  44. Jen says:

    @grumpy realist: I was reading the comments above and thinking “where are insurance companies on this?” Even WITH insurance, some people with serious covid cases are getting met with six-figure medical bills. You’d think that they’d be doing something to incentivize getting vaccinated.

    It’s frustrating, to be sure. I have a BIL and SIL who are refusing to get vaccinated. She (in her mid-30s) doesn’t think she’s at serious risk, and he thinks that the vaccines were developed too quickly. There are two under-12 kids in that household too. In short, the entire family is a disease vector waiting to happen (and yep, both are Republicans). But, numbers in NH are so low right now that the state is acknowledging that even unvaccinated people are at low risk because community transmission is low–because of our state’s high vaccination rate. So these free riders are skating in on other people’s responsible behavior.

    Of course, we could see Delta or another variant pop up and cause problems.

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  45. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    HL, what is happening in France? A few months ago there were reports of high level of vaccine resistance, but that was being overshadowed by the EU’s trumpian incompetence in acquiring and distributing vaccines.

    The French are vaccine hesitant by nature, to be honest about it. At heart, they’re skeptics. This is just the latest example of that. Combine a deep distrust of the state, a pretty healthy like of personal liberty / “just leave me the fk alone” attitude, and past failings. The debacle in 2009, where the government dropped hundreds of millions of euros on a swine flu vaccine, nobody wanted it, and then just a few hundred died is well remembered here. Those early problems with the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which is what was initially the most available here, didn’t help either.

    It’s getting better though. The figures vary by administrative region here much like they do with states in the US, but the least vaccinated region, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, just hit around 48%. Brittany is doing the best, with about 56%. We aren’t where we need to be, but we’re getting there. One thing we have seen is situations like Stormy’s county, where some people get the first, then just don’t return for the second. Not perfect, but better than nothing I guess.

    I think some of what you saw was data stemming from people being asked if they planned to get vaccinated. The inherent French reaction to a question like that will be to think “it’s none of your business” and a lot of them said no just on principle. It skewed the picture a little. We’ve found that a lot of those “No’s” later turned out to get vaccinated. They just didn’t like being questioned about it.

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  46. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Sorry, forgot to add and no edit button (again …)

    As of May 31st, the government opened vaccination up to anybody over 18 who wants it. They took that further in June, opening it up to anybody age 12 and up. We’re expecting / hoping that the figures shoot up as a result. Early data looks promising. We think that a lot of folks who were behind that eligibility wall started getting them in earnest in June, so as to be protected / have the side effects (if any) behind them in time to go on vacation. Time will really tell though.

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  47. EddieInCA says:

    @KM:

    I wish I could upvote this comment more than once.

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  48. EddieInCA says:

    https://www.rawstory.com/florida-republican-begs-vaccinated/

    ‘I cried and cried’: Unvaccinated Republican assumed COVID-19 ‘wouldn’t be that bad’ – then came perilously close to dying

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  49. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @KM: I last had a flu shot in about 2017. The last one before that was 2014. The last one before 2014 was probably never as I was allergic to flu vaccine when I was a child and never developed the habit. And in fact, the only reason that I got a shot in 2014 or 2017 was because I was at the doctor and was told “go get a vaccination on your way out; here’s the order.” I expended effort getting a Covid-19 shot because I work as a substitute teacher and being in the schools was frankly too high a risk unvaccinated. Having someplace specific to go to–as opposed to “find a pharmacy somewhere,” i.e. at a store I never shop at (no my pharmacy doesn’t do vaccinations)–aided the process significantly. I may never get a Covid-19 booster. Only time will tell, but the reason will be because

    – it’s might be difficult for someone with limited access to travel methods or a tight schedule to get but that only means it’s not a priority for them when they can.

    It’s a good observation. Remember it, everyone.

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  50. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Just as a passing note, I haven’t gotten the new Shingrix vaccine (did get the old vaccine–same day as the flu shot in 2017) or the Prevnar-13 (did get a pneumonia vaccination with the flu shot in Korea in 2014–they didn’t think about shingles, apparently). Reason? “Go to a pharmacy someplace” requires a roundtuit that I haven’t stumbled across at the dollar store yet.

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  51. Sleeping Dog says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Thanks

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  52. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I got that pneumonia vaccine. Knocked me right on my little backside. Felt like I’d been hit by a truck.

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  53. Kathy says:

    A few weeks ago, maybe a couple of months, I caught part of some Republican loon on CNN arguing with a reporter about vaccines. Said loon said she didn’t need one because youth, good health, etc*, and that if she got sick she could take hydroxychloroquine anyway.

    What’s the sense of choosing a drug with known toxicity over a vaccine without it?

    On related news, today the world officially passed 4 million COVID deaths globally.

    The real numbers no doubt are higher, but I fear we may never know for sure. We’ll certainly never know the number of cases if asymptomatic* infection is really common.

    *I define asymptomatic as you don’t get any symptoms from the moment the pathogen enters your body and until your immune system clears it. Or you get symptoms so mild you don’t even notice them.

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  54. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy:

    What’s the sense of choosing a drug with known toxicity over a vaccine without it?

    To the extent that I understand the argument (such as it is), the fact that the vaccine has no known toxicity does not mean that it is free of unknown/unrecognized toxic factors. If I understand the history correctly, it took about a decade to discover the more “dramatic” side effects of Prednisone treatment.

    On the other hand, both I and my parents would have chosen the undiscovered side effects over dying at 8 or 9, and they agreed that the prognosis that I would probably have fully blown emphysema by the time I was 35 was information that I didn’t need to know–and was still the better deal. (And I owe the length of my life to the very propitious and opportune timing of the FDA approving Albuterol for the treatment of asthma just as Theophylline was about to start killing my liver.)

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  55. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Quite frankly I was surprised to learn there’s long-term toxicity in immunotherapy treatments for cancer, so I quit making assumptions about antibodies.

    Still, I know of no vaccine that has proven problematic in the long term. All adverse reactions tend to happen soon after, like the swine flu vaccine in the 70s.

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  56. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: I certainly agree with you on the facts/history on record for vaccines. I’m not so sanguine about people who are making the objection–regardless of their logic/common sense/intelligence/ability to process data–and I suspect all 4 qualities to be lacking in that cohort. I’m like Faux News–I report, you decide. 😉

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  57. Gustopher says:

    Can we set up a faux conservative group to sue the Biden administration for diverting vaccine supplies from red areas to Mexico? Create an outrage.

    Truth doesn’t matter, although I would be fine if we did divert vaccine supplies from red areas to Mexico, if the red areas aren’t using them.

    Alternately, how much money do Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson want to change their tune? Claim to have modified the vaccines to make it better. “Well, now that it has homeopathic hydroxycloroquin, it’s the best vaccine ever!”

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  58. @KM:

    I don’t disagree that there’s a rational basis for the distrust. That does change the need to get people vaccinated. The question becomes what do you do? I think that finding people who are trusted and having them promote vaccination is a pretty good strategy.

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  59. KM says:

    @David Schuler:
    We’ve already done that. Outreach to local leaders as well as national celebrities has done jack all for the last year to reach these people. How many church leaders have come out and said they’ve lost members to congregations that push anti-vax nonsense? Before this and QAnon, Tom Hanks was one of the most trusted and admired Hollywood figures; him getting sick and talking about vaccines only made conspiracy minded folks suspicious. This has broken up families; when you tell your loved one they’re going to hell for wanted to be protected from a disease, you’re not going to listen someone promotion vaccination even if you’ve known them your whole life.

    It’s far easier to discount the trusted person as a sell-out or “somebody got to them” than change your mind about trusting a system or idea. They’ll take the meme that agrees with their beliefs shared by some rando over the internet than the facts from someone they trust and know has their good intentions in mind. It all comes down to belief and egotism- they’re right and everyone telling them they are wrong gets ignored. Now that it’s tied up in political, religious and cultural shibboleths, they can’t change their minds about the vaccine without also admitting they’re wrong about the tangential claims. They’d have to admit they fell for BS and let me tell you, there’s few things in this world stronger than a person’s need to not deal with being wrong.

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  60. grumpy realist says:

    Hmmm. BCBS is paying me 50$ to show that I have been vaccinated, so the health insurance companies ARE doing something….(this might be just for federal employees, I dunno.)

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