“It will take us much longer to return to normal life, to stop wearing masks for our protection, if people do not get vaccinated and we do not have a fair distribution of vaccines”, specialist in infectious diseases, Dr Dimanche Celine Gounder told CNN.
And equity in Covid-19 vaccines is essential not only for the United States, but around the world, in order to reach the finish line of the pandemic.
“If you have continuous transmission, replication of the virus in places like India and Brazil, you will have mutant viruses, which threatens our own recovery,” Gounder said.
Experts, including Dr Anthony Fauci, have estimated that between 70% and 85% of the American population must be immune to the virus – through vaccination or a previous infection – to control its spread.
So far, more than 44% of the population has received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and more than 31% are fully vaccinated, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
And for the ongoing local, state, and federal efforts to get more shots in the arms of Americans, now comes the hardest part: reaching an audience that weren’t so eager to get vaccinated in recent months or who didn’t. may not have had access to a shoot.
“We need to be … innovative in education that is both culturally competent and think about where the holes are and where we can get vaccines in people’s arms,” Dr Mati told CNN. Hlatshwayo Davis, infectious disease specialist, this weekend.
Doctor worries about whether young people will get vaccinated
A doctor told CNN on Sunday that he was concerned authorities had not offered enough incentives for some Americans to get vaccinated, including young Americans.
“What worries me the most are young people,” said primary care physician Dr Saju Mathew. “I see them almost every day at work.”
The CDC released new guidelines last week indicating that fully vaccinated people can unmask themselves at small outdoor gatherings or when dining out with friends from multiple households – activities for which the agency said that unvaccinated people still had to wear a mask.
But the guidelines are too cautious, as some unvaccinated Americans are already unmasked on the outside, Mathew said.
“I think the CDC missed an opportunity to say, ‘Look, we can get back to pre-pandemic life and you can do more if you’re vaccinated,’ Mathew said. “So I think when the science is out there with positive news, we need to share that and motivate people to get vaccinated.”
Anyone 16 years of age and older is currently eligible for a Covid-19 vaccine in the United States. But survey data shows that young Americans are the least likely to get the vaccine.
A recent Quinnipiac University survey found that 36% of adults under 35 say they don’t have it.
This is particularly worrying for several reasons.
Unvaccinated young Americans have helped fuel the increase in cases across the United States – including in several states last month. At that time, CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky warned that infections and hospitalizations were on the rise, mostly among young adults who had not been vaccinated.
And in places like Michigan, which battled a violent spring outbreak, officials reported last month that they were seeing younger, healthier Covid-19 patients in hospitals, hit hard by more contagious variants. circulating in the United States.
“ A ton of young people ” tested positive
West Virginia Governor Jim Justice last week said the state was offering a $ 100 savings bond to residents aged 16 to 35 who get vaccinated, with the goal of getting more young people vaccinated. residents.
The governor said the median age of residents who tested positive for the virus had fallen.
“When he recently fell at 44, we were like, ‘Oh oh. We have a problem. We need to get our young people vaccinated, ”Justice said in a statement. “But now we’re 34, and that means we have a ton of young people who test positive.”
The governor warned young people that they should be concerned – both about the transmission of the virus and the long-term effects that could persist long after their infection.
This point was also recently highlighted by the director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr Francis Collins, who said that the long-term consequences of Covid-19 for young people can be “quite serious”.
“Long Covid is one more reason to encourage everyone aged 16 and over to get vaccinated as soon as possible,” Collins said.
In Oregon, where the governor recently tightened restrictions for some counties amid a spike in new cases and hospitalizations, another warning for young residents.
“The vast majority of our new cases of COVID-19 come from people who have not yet been vaccinated,” Governor Kate Brown said in a statement. “Younger, unvaccinated Oregonians are now coming to our hospitals with severe cases of COVID-19.”
The governor urged residents to step up and get vaccinated to help slow the spread of the virus and help the state move down the “quickest path to lift restrictions.”