In many facets of life, doing something at a 70 percent completion rate is pretty good. But when it comes to vaccine deployment and administration, 70 percent isn’t good enough. As of Sunday, the U.S. has administered 41,210,937 doses of COVID-19 vaccines and distributed 59,307,800 doses. That’s good for about 70 percent.
Of the 41 million who have received the vaccine, only approximately 9 million have received both doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine, which only requires one shot, was submitted for emergency use authorization last week and should help move along those numbers. Regardless, the country has a long way to go.
“This will be one of the most difficult operational challenges we’ve ever undertaken as a nation,” President Biden said during an interview with CBS News that aired before the Super Bowl. He predicted that because of manufacturing and operational challenges, it will be late Summer by the time the country could vaccinate 300 million people and reach herd immunity.
The original Operation Warp Speed goal, set by the Trump administration in mid-2020, was 300 million vaccinated by the end of January 2021. In a recent webcast hosted by the Alliance for Health Policy, James Blumenstock, Senior Vice President, Pandemic Response and Recovery, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, said that there were a few reasons why that goal hasn’t been reached and why the country has gotten off to a slow start.
As the U.S. improves efficiencies and operational challenges of deploying the vaccine, there will be other roadblocks going forward that will have to be addressed. One of the biggest issues going forward is vaccine hesitancy. A new survey from The Conference Board has revealed the scope of the problem facing health care leaders.
According to The Conference Board, 67 percent of these lower-ranking workers plan to take the vaccine. Of CEOs, 85 percent of those at the top plan to take it. “Indecision about the vaccine may be driven by a distrust of the health care system, government agencies, or the efficacy of the vaccine itself. In many states, the vaccination registration process can be complicated,” stated Amy Lui Abel, PhD, Vice President, Human Capital Research at The Conference Board. “Many companies, on the other hand, have the trust of their staff; they may consider sharing facts and dispelling myths about the vaccine, or enabling government plans to immunize their workers.”
Data: The Conference Board
Addressing vaccine misinformation and improving hesitancy is imperative to ensuring vulnerable populations are getting access to the vaccine, said Kate Johnson, Program Director, Healthcare Cost and Coverage, National Governors Association, on the webcast with Blumenstock.
“Equity is critical. On the vaccine engagement front, that means you’re addressing things like different languages and cultural competencies in your communications. You’re using different modalities, ones that are more familiar to certain individuals. Inform your approaches by engaging with the community and tailoring those approaches as needed,” Johnson said. “And it’s not just about communication and hesitancy but make sure the access is there as well.”
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