Millions of health care workers, volunteers, and lawmakers have been working hard for months to make sure every American who qualifies to get the COVID-19 vaccine can get it in order to reach herd immunity.
But a new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation warns they may have a new problem: not enough people who want to get the vaccine.
“With supply increasing, and enthusiasm for vaccination leveling out, we’re going to hit this tipping point where supply is going to exceed demand and it’s going to get harder and harder to persuade people to get vaccinated,” said Larry Levitt, executive vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation.
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The study’s authors wrote, “While timing may differ by state, we estimate that across the U.S. as a whole we will likely reach a tipping point on vaccine enthusiasm in the next 2 to 4 weeks."
UCSF Infectious Diseases Expert, Doctor Monica Gandhi, said she is also a little worried about this, but thinks it’s still too early to know whether the prediction will become reality.
She said she is still optimistic because there is so much community outreach to groups who are reluctant. She also said she has faith that one big group in particular will roll up their sleeves soon: young people.
“We literally just opened it to young people. Just on April 19,” she said. “Young people are busy. They are out and about. They will hopefully want to get their vaccine but it may not be the first thing on their list, unlike those of us who are more vulnerable. And there are things that we can do to expand hours, to do community mobilization, to talk to people. They may want to get them on college campuses.”
But the Kaiser Family Foundation said there are other concerns too, including people who give up because of the challenges of getting to a vaccine site or an inability to find and book appointments online.
The organization found a number of people also fall into the “wait and see” group who will eventually get a vaccine.
“There is a solid one fifth of the population, nationally, that has consistently said they do not want to get vaccinated and won’t get vaccinated unless they’re required to,” said Levitt.
To combat this, the Biden administration launched a public education and confidence campaign this week called “We can do this.”
The goal is simple, get fence sitters to stop waiting and get the shot, to keep this pandemic from dragging on for years.