According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the uptake of the latest Covid-19 vaccines in the United States has been low. Only 5.4% of children, 14.8% of adults aged 18 and older, and 31.7% of adults aged 65 and older have received the updated vaccine as of November 17. This low uptake raises questions about the perception of Covid-19 as a threat among the American population.
A recent survey conducted by KFF sheds light on the reasons behind the low vaccine numbers. Over half of the adults who had previously been vaccinated against Covid-19 but did not receive the latest updated vaccine cited a lack of concern about the virus as the main reason for their decision. This suggests that a significant portion of the population no longer views Covid-19 as a serious threat.
The updated vaccine targets the XBB.1.5, Omicron subvariant of the SARS-CoV-2, which was the dominant circulating subvariant earlier in the year. It offers improved protection against the various subvariants of the virus, which have been circulating recently. Additionally, the protection offered by the initial Covid-19 vaccine wanes after four to six months, making the updated vaccine important for maintaining immunity.
The KFF survey also revealed a lack of concern about spreading or contracting Covid-19 among respondents. Only 31% expressed worry about spreading the virus, and only 28% were worried about getting seriously ill. This suggests a general decrease in fear around the virus and a reluctance to take precautions.
The lack of clear messaging from the federal government and the absence of a comprehensive national surveillance system have contributed to the confusion and uncertainty surrounding Covid-19. Without a clear plan, it is difficult for individuals to know how to protect themselves and others. This lack of clarity may lead people to rely on unreliable information from social media, exacerbating the problem.