News ID: 90046
Publish Date : 09 May 2021 - 22:56
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — States asked the federal government this week to withhold staggering amounts of COVID-19 vaccine amid plummeting demand for the shots, contributing to a growing U.S. stockpile of doses.
From South Carolina to Washington, states are requesting the Biden administration send them only a fraction of what’s been allocated to them. The turned-down vaccines amount to hundreds of thousands of doses this week alone, providing a stark illustration of the problem of vaccine hesitancy in the U.S.
More than 150 million Americans — about 57% of the adult population — have received at least one dose of vaccine, but government leaders from the Biden administration down to the city and county level are doing everything they can to persuade the rest of the country to get inoculated.
U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said Friday that the federal government has dedicated $250 million for community organizations to promote vaccinations, make appointments and provide transportation.
The huge supply and dwindling demand has highlighted the vast inequalities during the pandemic, with countries like India buckling under a disastrous surge of the virus and other nations having no doses at all. At the same time, wealthy countries like the U.S. are awash in vaccine, and seeing cases and deaths plunge as a result.
The federal government allocates vaccines to each state based on their population size, and then it’s up to the states to decide how many doses they want to order every week. Early on, states routinely asked for the full allocation —- and were clamoring for more shots — but now they are scaling back requests.
Health experts have generally said about 70% of the nation’s population would need to be vaccinated to reach herd immunity. The Biden administration wants to get 70% of adult Americans vaccinated by July 4, but has acknowledged the downward trend in vaccinations and the challenge to win over people who doubt the vaccine’s effectiveness or simply don’t want to get shots.
Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, vice dean for public health practice and community engagement at Johns Hopkins University, said he wasn’t "despairing” over the slowing of demand.
"Herd immunity is not necessarily a moment when the music plays and the sun shines,” he said. "It is about how easy it is for the virus to pass around in a community, and I think there is a lot more progress to be made. People who think, ‘Well, we are done with the large stadiums, so that is it, we are not going to vaccinate any more people’ are wrong.”
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