With only 3 weeks left to President Joe Biden’s July 4th goal of seeing 70% of all American adults with at least 1 dose of COVID-19 vaccine, national vaccination rates are dropping across the country to fewer than 1 million shots administered per day.
That’s a decline of more than 70% from the national peak of 3.4 million shots per day administered in April, according to a Washington Post analysis.
The slowdown is nationwide, but states in the South and Midwest report plummeting numbers. In Alabama, only 4 people per 10,000 residents got vaccinated last week.
According to the analysis, 13 states have met Biden’s goal, and another 15 states, and Washington D.C., have vaccinated well over 60% of their adult populations and are forecasted to meet the Fourth of July goal.
But in 15 states, about half of adults or fewer have received at least one dose, according to a New York Times analysis.
The slowdown in vaccination efforts could lead to a summer and fall surge of virus activity in states with low coverage, including many Southern states, some experts warned.
J&J vaccine demand ebbs
After an 11-day pause in April to investigate possible vaccine-related blood blots, demand and interest in the Johnson & Johnson one-dose COVID-19 vaccine dropped in the United States, and remains low.
Close to half of the 21 million doses produced for the United States remain unused, Reuters reports. During the last week of May, fewer than 650,000 Americans received the vaccine, which mean it represented about 5% of all vaccines administered that week.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was shown to be highly efficacious, but less so than the two mRNA vaccines authorized for use in the United States. Now a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows those two vaccines reduce the risk of infection by 91% for fully vaccinated people.
The findings come from 4 weeks of additional data added to CDC’s HEROES-RECOVER study of health care workers, first responders, frontline workers, and other essential workers.
A total of 3,975 participants self-administered nasal swabs for 17 consecutive weeks to gauge vaccines efficacy: After one dose of mRNA vaccine, risk of infection was 81%; after full vaccination, protection increased to 91%.
“COVID-19 vaccines are a critical tool in overcoming this pandemic,” said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, in a news release.
“Findings from the extended timeframe of this study add to accumulating evidence that mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are effective and should prevent most infections — but that fully vaccinated people who still get COVID-19 are likely to have milder, shorter illness and appear to be less likely to spread the virus to others. These benefits are another important reason to get vaccinated.”
US case counts continue to fall
The United States reported 5,395 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, and 251 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracker.
The CDC COVID Data Tracker shows 371,520,735 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been delivered in the US, and 301,368,578 have been administered, with 138,969,323 Americans fully vaccinated.
But less than 25% of Black Americans had received their first COVID-19 shot as of June 3, despite efforts to accelerate vaccination in minority communities, according to Politico. Vice President Kamala Harris has been tapped to lead a vaccination tour throughout the Southern United States in the coming ways in an effort to quell vaccine hesitancy among Black communities.