Vaccination Rates are Declining
Some governors are finding creative solutions to fight vaccine hesitancy and declining vaccination rates to reach herd immunity. Lawmakers and public health experts alike have been struggling to convince hesitant Republicans to take the coronavirus vaccine. They now have to think outside the box to overcome this challenge.
After vaccination demand started to decline in April, the 7-day shots per day rolling average increased this past week to 2.2 million. That’s up from a little under 2 million the previous week, the most recently reported low. However, that number is still down 35% from the peak before declines in April. It’s also too soon to tell whether the increase will stay on-trend.
There is a Partisan Divide Among Vaccination Rates
Currently, there is a stark partisan divide among state vaccination rates. All of the top 20 states with the highest vaccination rates voted for Joe Biden in 2020. Republicans have the opposite problem. The 19 states with the lowest vaccination rates all voted for Trump. The three states with the lowest vaccination states are in the Deep South (Mississippi (32%), Louisiana (33.5%), Alabama (33.8%)).
The National vaccination average is 46%. That includes the number of people who have taken at least one dose of the vaccine. A recent poll conducted by NPR found that hesitance was highest among Republicans. About 36% said they would not get the vaccine compared to 6% of Democrats. Republican men reported the highest vaccine hesitancy, with 49%.
Misinformation is Causing Hesitancy
This discrepancy may be partly because Republicans are much more distrustful of government organizations and less likely to believe public health officials. This is the cost of disinformation and misinformation.
We are still far from reaching herd immunity at 70%. Now, reaching that goal might be impossible because of the misinformation dispelled by Fox News shows like Tucker Carlson Tonight.
How are Governors Handling Vaccine Hesitancy?
To fight this concerning trend, some governors are pulling out all the stops to motivate their constituents into taking the vaccine. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine (R-OH) is giving out $1 million each week as a vaccine incentive to five lucky vaccinated individuals.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new partnership with Shake Shack, offering free fries to New Yorkers who get vaccinated. It’s too soon to tell whether such incentives will curb the hesitancy trend, but it speaks to the bigger problem states face.
Watch John Oliver Explain Vaccine Hesitancy
What is Takes to Reach Herd Immunity
The irony of the situation is that Fox News, who constantly rail against mask-wearing, is now also railing against the solution to mask-wearing. Of course, some Republican leaders recognize that and attempt to convince voters otherwise, but it’s an uphill battle. If right-wing propaganda eco chambers did the responsible thing, America would reach herd immunity in no time.
As it stands, public health officials are hoping the rate will climb once the vaccine is approved for children. Until then, vaccine hesitancy and declining vaccination rates remain a serious concern, especially among red states where vaccination rates are the lowest in the country.
How Can You Help?
If you want to help fight vaccine hesitancy, you can get vaccinated and talk to your friends and family members about getting vaccinated. To find a vaccine location near you, please visit https://www.vaccines.gov.
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