July 23, 2024

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US Adult COVID-19 Vaccination Rate Below 15% Despite Ongoing Threa

US Adult COVID-19 Vaccination Rate Below 15% Despite Ongoing Threa



US Adult COVID-19 Vaccination Rate Below 15% Despite Ongoing Threa

The COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed the lives of over 1.15 million Americans since early 2020, continues to pose a significant threat. Despite more than 8 million individuals grappling with lingering post-infection symptoms, recent data indicates a diminishing perception of COVID-19 as a true menace in the United States.

Observing people in public, it is evident that many have abandoned the consistent use of masks. Even companies that had maintained infection prevention measures, such as operating air purifiers and providing alcohol-based hand sanitizers, seem to be on a decline.

As of November 17th, statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveal that only 5.4% of children, 14.8% of adults aged 18 and above, and 31.7% of elderly individuals aged 65 and older have received the latest COVID-19 vaccine.

 

US Adult COVID-19 Vaccination Rate Below 15% Despite Ongoing Threa

 

 

The question arises: why is the vaccination rate for the latest vaccine so low? According to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), more than half of adults who had previously received the initial COVID-19 vaccine reported not getting the additional booster shot, citing a lack of concern about the risk of infection as the primary reason.

Regardless of the rationale, the current vaccination situation in the United States this fall is far from satisfactory. The latest vaccine is designed to effectively combat the Omicron variant XBB.1.5, which has become the predominant strain this year, as well as other emerging Omicron mutations like EG.5 and BA.2.86.

Moreover, the preventive efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine begins to wane 4 to 6 months after administration. In essence, getting an additional vaccine shot is akin to updating the software on a smartphone. For individuals who last received the vaccine in early 2023 or earlier, their current level of protection against infection risks is uncertain.

Despite these considerations, interest in receiving the latest COVID-19 vaccine has steadily declined since 2022. While 69.5% of residents of all ages and 79.1% of adults aged 18 and above have completed the initial two doses, the uptake of booster shots falls significantly below these numbers and is even lower than the influenza vaccine coverage.

A recent survey conducted by the KFF from October 31st to November 7th further reveals that many Americans adopt a nonchalant attitude toward the ongoing COVID-19 situation. Despite three consecutive years of rapid infection spread during the year-end holidays, only 31% express concerns about potentially infecting others, and a mere 28% worry about the possibility of severe illness if they themselves become infected.

Approximately half of the respondents indicate no intention to implement recommended preventive measures. Only 35% plan to avoid large gatherings, 30% intend to wear masks in crowded places, and a mere 18% plan to get tested for infection before visiting friends or family.

Considering the apparent efforts by various politicians and business figures to downplay the significance of the ongoing pandemic since 2021, these low numbers might not be as surprising. The politicization of COVID-19 and infection control measures may contribute to politicians approaching the reinforcement of preventive measures with caution.

The lack of clear messaging from the White House and federal government regarding specific infection control measures to be taken during the fall and winter might lead people to make decisions based on speculation or rely on dubious information spread on social media. This situation parallels making life decisions based on restroom graffiti; without a comprehensive nationwide surveillance system, tracking the dynamics of the COVID-19 virus and identifying high-risk environments become increasingly challenging. The United States appears to be navigating in the dark when it comes to future COVID-19 strategies.

While the hashtag #Covidisnotover continues to trend on social media, the reality is that the pandemic is not over. Although the threat is not as severe as in 2020, contracting the virus is still a serious matter. Even vaccinated individuals are at risk of severe illness or long-term effects, and the risk decreases with each additional booster shot. From all indications, it seems that COVID-19 will continue to resurface in waves.

Dealing with a virus is not a matter of mere belief or life aphorisms like “mind over matter.” Yet, it doesn’t mean living in constant fear of the virus and sacrificing one’s desires. What is needed now and in the future is a clearer national plan for addressing the ongoing COVID-19 situation.

US Adult COVID-19 Vaccination Rate Below 15% Despite Ongoing Threa

(source:internet, reference only)


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