According to a recent survey presented to scientific advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 7 percent of adults and 2 percent of children in the United States have received the latest vaccines against the coronavirus as of October 14. This low uptake is even more concerning considering that it is weak among those most at risk of severe illness. The survey found that only one in five people aged 75 or older have been vaccinated, along with about 15 percent of those aged 65 to 74.
The consequences of this low vaccination rate are evident in the ongoing impact of COVID-19. More than 1,200 people are dying from the virus each week, and hospitalizations remain a concern. However, the rates of hospitalization have decreased compared to last year, with about 16,000 people hospitalized in the week ending October 14, compared to nearly 23,000 at the same time last year and more than 44,000 in 2021.
Certain demographics are particularly vulnerable to severe illness and hospitalization. COVID-19 hospitalizations among adults aged 75 and older are two to three times higher than among those aged 65 to 74, and rates of hospitalization are highest among Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Black Americans. Unfortunately, vaccination rates among these groups are also low, with less than 1 percent of Native Americans and Alaska Natives, and 7.6 percent of Black Americans, having received the vaccine as of October 14.
The vaccine rollout has faced challenges, including difficulties in accessing vaccines, fees being charged, and canceled appointments due to high demand. However, there is hope that vaccination rates will increase as more doses become available. As of October 14, 12 million Americans had been vaccinated, and that number grew to 14.8 million in the following week.
It is worth noting that some experts argue that younger people are less vulnerable to severe illness and death from COVID-19 due to immunity from previous infections and vaccinations. The CDC recommended that all Americans aged 6 months and older receive at least one dose of the latest COVID-19 shots, but there were concerns about recommending the shots to younger people, particularly children, due to potential side effects.
A significant factor contributing to the low vaccination rate is vaccine hesitancy. About 38 percent of adults in the survey stated that they would not choose the vaccine for themselves, and a similar percentage of parents said they would not have their children immunized. This resistance to vaccination poses a challenge to achieving widespread immunity.
In conclusion, the low vaccination rate in the United States presents a concerning situation as COVID-19 continues to pose risks to certain populations. Efforts to address vaccine hesitancy and improve access to vaccines are crucial in order to protect public health and reduce the impact of the virus.