About 53% of all Americans are currently inoculated with at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine while about 44% of the population is now fully vaccinated, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“We have a long way to go as a globe. The United States — we don’t even realize how lucky we are here because we’ve had access to the vaccine early on. We basically have people turning the vaccine away. We think the whole world behaves that way, but that’s not the case,” Dr. Suzanne Judd, an epidemiologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health, said.
All adults in America are currently eligible to receive one of the three vaccine options approved in the country; Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson. However, many other countries around the world only have one vaccine option available for their large populations of unvaccinated individuals.
“There are whole countries where only 1% of the population has had access to the vaccine. That means the coronavirus will continue to spread in those countries and will be problematic in those countries.”
“It means travel restrictions could happen. It means that it may impact Americans in terms of how they interact through work with people from those countries. It definitely will continue to impact us, so we have to be aware that it’s a good 18 months away before there’s enough vaccine to really stop the spread of the virus worldwide,” Judd explained.
The CDC revealed that at least 13 states have hit their goals of getting 70% of their residents partially vaccinated, which has led to many governors lifting restrictions and mask mandates. However, there is still a large group of Americans who are refusing to get the vaccine.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, “7% of those who are unvaccinated said they will only get the shot if they are required, while 13% are still definitely not getting a vaccine.”
“The problem, though, is that mutant variants of the virus are able to form as the virus circulates for longer. So even with at least 70% vaccinated, there is still a risk.”
“That 30% that winds up in another state, say that the state makes it to 70% and there are 30% unvaccinated. It poses a risk to that 30%. We really want to get to the 70% target in all states. That’s what will make this virus go away and not stay with us. If we don’t, we’re going to wind up battling outbreaks basically,” Judd said.
Vaccines are showing that they’re effective against fighting the new strains, but not as strongly as it fights the regular virus.
“The initial variants, we were looking at 90% effective and maybe it’s more like 70% with the Delta variant, but that’s great. Honestly, that’s a public health win. 70% is not something to throw away and say ‘that’s not good enough.’ That’s so much better than 10, 15, 20%. Again, if we can get people vaccinated, we don’t have to worry about the Delta variant,” Judd claimed.
“It’s not just the United States that’s in this fight. It’s really a global fight, a global struggle, a global effort.”
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.